Job risk as oil refinery deal fails

Published: Wednesday 5th November 2014 by The News Editor

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A deal aimed at securing the future of an oil refinery has collapsed, threatening hundreds of job losses.

Welsh and UK Government ministers expressed their disappointment that an agreement to safeguard the future of the Murco refinery at Milford Haven in West Wales could not be achieved.

Welsh Minister for Economy, Science and Transport Edwina Hart said: “This is a devastating blow to staff at the Murco refinery and companies within the refinery’s supply chain, as well as the local communities around Milford Haven. Murco has been integral to the fabric of the oil and gas infrastructure in Wales and the Welsh economy for many years.

“This news is especially disappointing as the Welsh Government did everything we could to support the success of this deal. Working with close co-operation from UK Government departments, Welsh Government officials have been fully engaged with both parties at the highest levels for many months to try to secure the ongoing operation of the refinery and protect the jobs at the Milford Haven site.

“Our support for the Murco refinery and its staff will not stop here. We have been working with management at Murco since 2010 to try to maximise the opportunities for the sale of the refinery.

“We will all continue to work tirelessly with Murco management to maximise the opportunities for employment at the site, ensure the ongoing viability of the terminal and assist to find a new owner. Workers seeking retraining and employment will receive support through React and we will assist supply chain companies to create and explore new markets and opportunities through Business Wales.”

US firm Murphy Oil Corporation said its wholly owned subsidiary, Murco Petroleum Limited, was unable to complete the sale of the Milford Haven refinery and terminal assets to Klesch Refining Limited by a deadline of October 31.

“The refinery is currently in a period of shut-down, and will be decommissioned and operated solely as a petroleum storage and distribution terminal. The company will seek a buyer for the terminal facility along with three inland terminals. The sale of the company’s retail assets is unaffected by the inability to sell the refinery,” it said a statement.

Stephen Crabb, Conservative MP for Preseli Pembrokeshire and Secretary of State for Wales, said: “This is an incredibly disappointing outcome. I feel desperately sorry for the workforce and their families who have endured months of uncertainty only for the sale to collapse once again. Right up until late last week everything looked on track.

“When it became clear that last Friday’s deadline was not going to be met we worked through the night to persuade Murphy to keep talking to the buyer. They showed a lot of goodwill by once again extending their deadlines but clearly now have taken a view that there is no chance of completion within an acceptable timeframe.

“I am grateful for the enormous efforts made by the Energy Secretary and the First Minister over the weekend in trying to keep the deal moving forward. I genuinely don’t believe there is anything more that could have been done from the UK or Welsh Government side to hold this together.

“We all now need to focus on how we minimise the significant economic impact the closure will have on our county. Both the UK and Welsh Government will shortly outline a package of measures to help those affected. I am committed to working closely with them to ensure that those losing their jobs get the right support at this time.”

Published: Wednesday 5th November 2014 by The News Editor

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