ABOUT 2,000 new jobs could be created at a new enterprise park planned for the former Coryton oil refinery.
And site bosses hope the new centre for energy and environmental technology and research will come to fruition within the next three years.
A consortium of Vopak, Shell and Greenergy took over the 580-acre site in September 2012, just weeks after a bitter battle to save the refinery ended, with the loss of 750 jobs.
The park will be built on 400 acres of the land. A new oil storage terminal (the Thames Oilport) will occupy the otrher 180 acres.
A spokesman for the Thames Oilport said: “Development plans are advancing well.
“The partners have established a joint venture for this area called Thames Enterprise Park.
“This major regeneration site has the potential to be the home for a cluster of energy and environmental technology businesses providing skilled jobs, a boost to the local economy and real synergies with the neighbouring Thames Oilport.”
Technology and biofuel research firms are among those which could locate on the site. Thurrock Council is keen for the area to be a centre of excellence in energy and environmental technology.
About 100 acres are now available for development, while the remaining 300 acres need to be cleared.
Bosses hope the first part of the site will be up-and-running by the end of this year.
Leader of Thurrock Counil John Kent said: "The loss of the refinery was a blow to the local economy, as well as the national one, but the ideas being put forward for the area now are really exciting, again on a local and a national – if not international – level and will enhance Thurrock’s growing position as the powerhouse of Britain’s economic recovery."
Stephen Metcalfe, the Conservative MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock told the Gazette that it might not be long before we see the first firm signed up to use the the new Thames Enterprise Park.
He said: “In the wake of the closure of Coryton oil refinery 18 months ago, this is good news.
“It will see industrial land brought back into use, highly skilled jobs brought to the area and in the next few months, i’m hoping we will hear about companies interested in investing in the site.”
He added: “That part of the Thames has got a great industrial heritage. It’s important to bring it back into use and this is really excting.
“Almost any business could look at that and see potential.”
A spokesman for the Enterprise Park said: "The first globally-significant occupier is due to be announced shortly when agreement is reached on heads of terms for a lease on approximately 35 acres."