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Where will the next refinery closure be?

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murcoOIL prices may be tumbling, Russia may be brought to its knees, but for Europe’s refineries little has changed. Margins remain as tight as ever, driven by a systemic overcapacity of petrol production and under-production of diesel. Last month, Murco refinery became the latest European refinery to succumb to market pressures. Murco was the third UK refinery to close in the past five years, following the closure of Petroplus’ Coryton refinery in 2012 and Teesside refinery in 2009.

With these three closures the UK has lost 445,000 barrels per day (bpd), one quarter of its refining capacity. And yet, as far as the whole of Europe is concerned, some say the closures to date haven’t gone far enough. Speaking to Process Engineering for our January 2015 cover feature, Wood Mackenzie downstream principal analyst Jonathan Leitch said that his firm’s modeling showed that “by 2018 we need to decrease crude runs in Europe by 1.6 million barrels per day – that’s twelve Milford Havens”.

While he pointed out that the UK’s top refineries are among the most advanced in the world, he also admitted that the closures needed to bring European production back to equilibrium wouldn’t necessarily come at the weakest refineries. “There are some smaller lossmaking refineries where, if they close down that’s the end of their business, and for that reason they continue to operate,” he said. “At the other end, some of the major oil companies may own several refineries across Europe.

The two or three they choose to close down will not be the worst in Europe.” For these reasons, further UK refinery closures cannot be ruled out. Most at risk would appear to be the country’s two smallest refineries. Total tried and failed to sell its 200,000 bpd Lindsey refinery in Killingholme, North Lincolnshire in 2011, and while it has since committed to investing in the plant and keeping it operational, there are worrying echoes of Milford Haven’s situation – like the Pembrokeshire plant, which had the larger, better connected Valero Pembroke refinery for a neighbour, Lindsey too has a local big brother in the form of the 221,000 bpd Phillips 66 Humber refinery.

Meanwhile, there was speculation in the summer that Indian company Essar was trying to sell its Stanlow refinery in Ellesmere Port. The company dismissed talk of a sale as nothing but rumours, but following the mothballing of a crude distillation unit at the plant in September and subsequent closure of Milford Haven, Stanlow is now the country’s smallest refinery at 195,000 bpd, and must therefore be considered at risk in an industry where it is generally the largest, most complex plants that are most likely to survive. No matter what the oil price does, there seems little respite for refiners in the year to come.

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A40 closed at Scleddau due to collision between car and motorbike

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EMERGENCY SERVICES have shut the A40 at in Scleddau due to a serious road collision.

The accident happened just before 2pm. The Herald understands that the collision involved a motorcycle and car at a junction near The Gate Inn public house.

Police said: “Emergency services are currently on scene and dealing with the incident. Please find an alternative route if possible. Update to follow.”

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Moley’s Ambassador March to support those who have lost a child

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ON SATURDAY (Jun 19), Andrew Cole (aka Moley) will set off on a 24 hour walk around Pembrokeshire with the aim of doing as many miles in as little time as possible. 

Moley is proud to have recently been made ambassador of the charity ‘2 Wish UponAa Star’ an organisation dedicated to supporting families that have lost a child under 25 years of age.

He will be setting off at 6am in the morning from Neyland and walking all day and night, finishing at 6am the following morning.

2 wish upon a star was set up by Rhian Mannings, who set up the charity after losing her own son.

By celebrating the lives of those lost, and offering support to families through their grief; Rhian and her team offer an essential service to the community and those families who have suffered the devastation of losing a loved one.

Appealing for support from the people of Pembrokeshire he said: “Please give generously to support the wonderful work of Rhian and her team. Also, if you happen to see me in the day, feel free to give me a beep of encouragement’

“If you would like to donate to Moley, and support the charity, you can visit his JustGiving page.”

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/moleycole

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Lifeboats and chopper in major air sea rescue off the coast of Tenby

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TWO RNLI lifeboats from both Tenby and Angle stations have been launched to assist a coastguard helicopter which has been scrambled from MOD St Athen.

It is understood that a search for a missing person or persons is underway.

Paged this morning: Angle Lifeboat is currently involved in the search south of Tenby

The alarm was raised before 10am this morning (June 18).

Tenby’s Y-boat is also involved in the operation, The Herald understands.

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Rescue underway: Coastguard chopper position at 1030HRS on Friday, Jun 18 (Pic MarineTraffic)
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