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Refinery could be out of action for weeks, costing Valero millions

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THE FALLOUT from Friday’s disruption to the national electricity supply across many parts of the UK will be serious for Pembrokeshire’s oil refinery.

Pembroke Refinery – owned by Valero – can refine up to 220,000 barrels of oil per day.

Along with 900,000 other electricity users in the UK, it suffered a complete power failure on August 9.

A source close to the plant told The Herald that screens in the control room went blank and refinery operators were forced to shut down manually.

During the incident there were large flare offs at the site and black smoke could be seen from the stacks.

There was a strong smell of oil in the air reported by nearby residents.

Despite Valero’s official spokesperson saying on Friday that the company did not comment on operational matters, another source told this newspaper that the power outage had knocked the fluid catalytic cracker offline, and that it would likely take a number of weeks for the refinery to get back to normal operations.

Our source said: “This is going to cost Valero millions of pounds. Everyone is very tight lipped at the present time, but I expect that there will be a big meeting on Monday – I understand that there are colleagues flying in from Texas.

“With the refinery out of action some ships may be forced to leave Milford Haven without any cargo.”

Our source told us: “I know that there is at least one ship waiting, on berth three I think, to load up with alkylate, but with the cracker down this won’t be happening.”

In 2017 a power outage and resulting smoke at a Valero Energy Corp refinery forced residents to remain indoors for several hours in Benicia, California. According to local news media reports at the time, black smoke from the refinery, also caused traffic to back up on Interstate 680 and forced evacuations from the industrial park where the plant is located. Orders to remain indoors and evacuate the industrial park had been lifted by noon. Two people were treated for respiratory distress.

Electrical disruptions and power failures at refineries often cause immense damage in terms of lost production, excessive repair costs, environmental impact and safety concerns. Electrical power is the lifeblood of the refinery and plant operation. An individual incident can run losses into millions of dollars a day. In 2012, the Phillips 66 refinery in New Jersey was down for 23 days. They estimated the lost revenue was over $650 million US Dollars.
The Government says it plans to launch an investigation into the major power cut. The blackout also brought travel chaos to the rail network and affected the power supply to Newcastle Airport and Ipswich Hospital.

Power had to be restored to more than 900,000 customers after what National Grid Electricity System Operator said was the almost simultaneous loss of two large generators.

Andrea Leadsom, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, said Friday’s power outage had caused “enormous disruption”.
She added: “National Grid must urgently review and report to Ofgem.
“I will also be commissioning the Government’s Energy Emergencies Executive Committee to consider the incident.”

The committee will look at whether National Grid, which manages the electricity supply system, stuck to its processes and procedures and if these were fit-for-purpose.

It will also examine if there were technical performance issues in the country’s power system, the efficiency of communications around the incident and how power demand was restored.

National Grid said it would seek to “understand the lessons learned” from the incident, while energy regulator Ofgem called for an “urgent detailed report” on what went wrong.
Duncan Burt, operations director at National Grid, said the power cut was an “incredibly rare event”, but back-up systems had “worked well” in response.

He explained that automatic processes triggered by the loss of the two generators had temporarily disconnected electrical demand across the country to “help keep the rest of the system safe”.

Valero have been contacted for a further comment.

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Dale Road: Several have minor injuries after two vehicle accident

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EMERGENCY SERVICES are attending a two-vehicle road traffic accident on the B4327 Dale Road.

Two fire crews from Haverfordwest as well as police were called at around 3pm today (Aug 16).

A van and a car are involved.

Avoid the area at the present time

The Herald understands that several people are being treated for minor injuries.

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Tenby: Hotel goes into administration as new owner’s business empire collapses

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A POPULAR Pembrokeshire hotel has gone into administration.

The Fourcroft Hotel in Tenby how faces an uncertain future. It’s parent company Northern Powerhouse Developments reportedly suffered a £14m operational loss last year.

The 40-bedroomed hotel, which had been in the ownership of the same family for over 70 years, was bought by Northern Powerhouse Developments for an undisclosed sum in January 2017.

New boss Gavin Woodhouse said at the time: “This is the first of four hotels we are acquiring and opening in South Wales to complement our existing hotels up and down the coastline of the United Kingdom.”

“The Fourcroft will be the sister hotel to the Llandudno Bay Hotel and Spa and part of the group’s premier hotel collection.

“We are keen to compliment the local businesses and hope to be part of the future success of Tenby and the surrounding areas.”

NPD was founded by Gavin Woodhouse to focus on investment in the leisure and tourism industry.

According to ITV News, at the High Court hearing, Justice Alastair Norris was told that Woodhouse had been withdrawing tens of thousands of pounds from a bank account he had kept secret from administrators.

Below: Video by The Guardian regarding the missing millions which have plagued Gavin Woodhouse’s businesses

Appointment of Administrators

In the High Court of Justice

Court Number: CR-2019-005297

FOURCROFT HOTEL (TENBY) LIMITED

(Company Number 00772050)

Nature of Business: Hotels and similar accommodation

Registered office: Unit D2 Elland Riorges Link, Lowfields Business Park, Elland, HX5 9DG

Principal trading address: The Croft, Tenby, SA70 8AP

Date of Appointment: 8 August 2019

Names and Address of Administrators: Philip Francis Duffy (IP No. 9253) and Sarah Helen Bell (IP No. 9406) both of Duff & Phelps Ltd, The Chancery, 58 Spring Gardens, Manchester, M2 1EW

Further details contact: The Joint Administrators, Tel: 0161 827 9000. Alternative contact: Chloe Chan, Email: Chloe.Chan@duffandphelps.com

Ag JG50885

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Coastguard call-out after missing cliff climbers fears

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EMERGENCY services were called to the Stack Rocks area on Thursday August 15, following concerns for the safety of two climbers.

The emergency services were called following fears over the safety of some climbers when climbing gear had been found at the top of the cliff near Bullslaughter Bay, with the owners nowhere to be seen.

At 9.11pm, Tenby Coastguard rescue team, St Govan coastguard rescue team, Tenby Lifeboats RNLI ALB, Angle Lifeboat RNLI ALB and Coastguard rescue helicopter 187 were called to search for possible missing persons in the vicinity of Stack rocks.

Tenby’s RNLI all-weather lifeboat was launched just after 9pm and made best speed towards the scene, 10 miles west of Tenby, while Tenby and St Govans Coastguard rescue teams and Coastguard rescue helicopter 187 also made their way.

An RNLI spokesman said: “Once on scene, the volunteer crew began their search from Stackpole Head towards Bullslaughter Bay.

“With darkness fast approaching, it was decided to launch Angle all-weather lifeboat so that the search for anyone in difficulty could be widened.

“Sometime later, the helicopter spotted some climbers and directed Angle lifeboat to their position, and, while speaking to them, they confirmed it was their climbing gear and that they were in no difficulty.

“All units stood down and returned to their respective stations, with Tenby lifeboat arriving back on station at about 12.15am.”

H M Coastguard Tenby, posting on Facebook, added: “Coastguard and RNLI were quickly on the scene with the Coastguard officers searching from land along the coastline and RNLI lifeboats commencing a water search.

“Once Coastguard rescue helicopter 187 arrived on scene they managed to quickly locate two climbers using FLIR [Forward-Looking Infra-Red].

“Angle RNLI was then directed to the persons and made contact with the climbers and confirmed that the equipment found belonged to them and that they did not require assistance.”

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