A tanker loaded with 60,000 tonnes of Russian crude oil destined for the struggling Coryton refinery has anchored in the Thames Estuary for five days awaiting payment for its cargo.
The refinery is scrambling to raise the cash to pay for the contents of the Lian Xing Hu, which left Novorossiysk on the Black Sea 26 days ago.
Coryton resumed deliveries of petrol, diesel and jet fuel following a two-day suspension after administrators Pricewaterhouse (PwC) redrew contracts with its biggest customers, BP and Texaco, allowing payment to go directly to the refinery. They had previously gone to Petroplus, the refinery's Swiss parent, which filed for insolvency this week.
Yesterday's developments came as a French prosecutor opened an investigation into whether Petroplus illegally withdrew funds from its French unit before filing for insolvency.
Police raided the headquarters of the group's French subsidiary – Petroplus Marketing Finance – in Paris yesterday, about an alleged transfer of €100m (£83.6m) out of the company's bank account prior to the filing.
Petroplus refutes the allegations.