And then the news came - the Coryton Oil Refinery in south Essex was being sold.
Nearly all of the 850 or so workers would lose their jobs. Indirectly perhaps, many workers will be dismissed by the gas station for the lack of supply of fuel.
Although the writing had been on the wall - the refinery's Swiss owner Petroplus had gone into administration six months earlier - many believed it would never happen.
But it did.
And a year on, the former Coryton refinery workers can be found on the oil rigs of the North Sea or out in the Middle East.
For many, the past 12 months have been a year of shock, fear and upheaval.
Mark Pullen, 45, had worked at Coryton for five years before he was made redundant last June.
His father's entire career was spent at the refinery, and his son Danny was an apprentice there.
He said he thought it would be a job for life, and when the refinery's owners went into administration, no-one believed the site would shut.
"When it all started, roughly about January last year, there was a lot of uncertainty.
"Everyone said 'We'll be alright, it's never shut, they'll find someone to buy it.
"And then the announcement was made… It was just, 'what do I do?', because all the industry down the river is shut.
"You just look at the jobs round here and what lifestyle you've got, and you think, there's nothing round here that can support what I'm used to, or what I want."
"I'd just taken on a bigger mortgage four years beforehand… it's just devastating really."
"Although they didn't say it to my mum, they'd say it to me - they were scared of what was going to happen, because of all the uncertainty there.
"Some nights I'd come home with bars of chocolate just to make them feel happy, and let them know I was there for them."