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Murco sale ‘agreed’ says MP

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Future secure: Stephen Crabb MP has announced that Murco's will stay open.

Future secure: Stephen Crabb MP has announced that Murco’s will stay open.

THERE has been a breakthrough in the ongoing negotiations to find a new buyer for Murco oil refinery in MIlford Haven.

Speaking on Saturday, Preseli Pembrokeshire MP Stephen Crabb told The Herald: “I am delighted with the breakthrough today in negotiations over the sale of the Murco oil refinery in Milford Haven. The agreement in principle reached between Murphy and the buyer is a hugely positive step forward. The sale will secure hundreds of high quality jobs and will enable the refinery to continue operating fully. There remain challenges ahead, and a due diligence process to be completed, but I am just so pleased that we have reached this point. I am very optimistic that the sale can be completed. It has felt like a race against time to find a new buyer ever since Murphy started the clock on potential closure. I am very pleased that I was able to bring the buyer into the negotiations in the first instance and help broker a deal. At every step of the way I have remained in close contact with all parties and have worked tirelessly to keep negotiations flowing when difficulties arose. All along I have been incredibly impressed with the dedication of the workforce on site who have stayed focused despite the huge cloud of uncertainty hanging over the refinery.”

The Herald understands that a sale to oil entrepreneur Gary Klesch has been agreed, although the deal is yet to be finalised.

Speaking on BBC Wales on Sunday, Mr. Crabb said was delighted with the timing of the deal: “It was crucial to get this breakthrough this weekend because Murphy were clear that without that commitment, they were going to announce tomorrow morning they were beginning the process of shutting down the refinery altogether,”

Gary Klesch is an Anglo-American entrepreneur, who in 1990 founded The Klesch Group, a global industrial company, based in Geneva, Switzerland, which he owns and chairs.

Delyth Evans, Labour Parliamentary Candidate for South Pembrokeshire said on Sunday: “If this deal goes through it is fantastic news and a huge relief to employees at Murco and to the wider community. It is a vote of confidence in Pembrokeshire and in our skilled workforce. A lot of people including the Welsh Government have been working incredibly hard to secure a buyer for the plant, and it is to all their credit that these efforts appear to have finally paid off. I wish the new owners every success and I hope this will bring further investment to the area. News of the agreement in principle is very encouraging. Murco is an extremely important employer for the area, supporting more than 400 skilled, well paid jobs. The prolonged period of uncertainty has been difficult for everyone concerned.

Mrs Evans added: “I know that the Welsh Government Business Minister, Edwina Hart, will be leaving no stone unturned in trying to ensure a sale and save the jobs I sincerely hope for the successful completion of the sale.”

Murphy oil said yesterday: “Solid progress has been made on negotiations, but the deal has not yet been signed and sealed.”

Stephen Crabb said that he had worked closely with the UK and Welsh Government. He added “The crucial breakthrough came with the involvement of the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the past few days, when he put the full weight of his support behind keeping Murco open. It was a race against time. I first met with the current buyer give months ago and have remained in contact with them while Murphy was locked into negotiations with Grey-bull.”

Stephen Crabb told The Herald: “There was a concern at a UK level about the position held by Murphy Oil in Arkansas, USA. We needed to be sure that they were willing to sell the refinery as a going concern. It just so happens that I have a good working relationship with the Senator or Arkansas, who helped to open lines of communication between the UK Government and Murphy Oil. It was a question of pulling out all the stops and trying all angles to save the refinery.”

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Business

Freeport status ‘key’ to unlocking potential

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FREEPORT status for Pembroke Port could unlock a multitude of employment and economic opportunities for the local area.

That’s the belief of Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire Senedd candidate Samuel Kurtz.

While freeports are a Westminster policy, the Welsh Government are involved in the process but they have been far from enthusiastic over its potential benefits. 

Commenting, Cllr Samuel Kurtz said: “Freeport status for Pembroke Port would turbo charge the recovery of the local economy, helping to boost employment opportunities for people in Pembroke, Pembroke Dock and the local area.
“That fact that the Labour government in Cardiff have sat on their hands over freeports, while England has already announced its freeport locations, shows the party has little regard for helping the economy recover and grow. 
“This is a key policy that shouldn’t be overlooked simply because of party politics. Recovering from the effects of the pandemic needs collaborative work between Cardiff, London and local authorities.”  

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Business

Port of Milford Haven confirms compliance with National Marine Safety Code

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THE PORT OF MILFORD HAVEN has confirmed its compliance with the Maritime & Coastguard Agency’s Port Marine Safety Code (PMSC).

The confirmation comes following an audit by leading maritime consultants ABPmer.

The Port Marine Safety Code is a national standard that applies to all harbour authorities. The Code and its accompanying guidance provide an essential toolbox to ensure the control of risk and the maintenance of safety in ports and in the marine environment.

Port of Milford Haven’s Harbourmaster and Marine Director Mike Ryan is proud of the Port’s continued compliance with the Code.

“This is further endorsement and confirmation of everyone’s commitment here at the Port of Milford Haven to providing a safe operation for all port users,” said Mike.

Monty Smedley, ABPmer’s Lead PMSC Auditor, who conducted the audit, said: “I am very pleased to confirm to the Port of Milford Haven’s Board that their harbour operations demonstrated compliance with the requirements of the Code, with many examples that we considered to be industry best practice.”

The MCA’s Ports and VTS Policy Manager, James Hannon, who leads PMSC compliance for the UK government said: “The Code is recognised across the industry and has been developed in partnership by the UK government and industry over the last two decades. The resources set out how ports can assess risks, design safety management systems, and also install governance processes to ensure that a Designated Person is able to evaluate controls and report directly to port duty holders and boards.”

The Port of Milford Haven’s Board formally declares its compliance with the Port Marine Safety Code to the MCA every three years.

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Business

Pembrokeshire business encourages others to take advantage of free courses

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IN LIGHT of the recent Welsh Government announcement on the re-opening of the Welsh tourism sector, Wales. A Food Destination is running a number of masterclass sessions tailored for the hospitality sector.

Wales. A Food Destination is a project which specialises in supporting retail and hospitality businesses to source, serve and sell Welsh food and drink through cafes, restaurants, shops, farmers markets, food festivals, B&B’s and tourist attractions.

Throughout April virtual workshop sessions will take place, covering a variety of areas such as local food and drink pairing, breakfast menu inspiration, how to offer the best customer experience possible, through to creating an authentic local eating experience, with a particular focus on sourcing local ingredients.

According to Laura Alexander, co-coordinator for Wales. A Food Destination, the aim is to give a helping hand to those in the sector looking to source, serve and sell Welsh food in a post Covid world,

“It is great that we are able to offer such a diverse range of training opportunities to hospitality businesses in Wales as the sector prepares to re-open. We know that a lot of businesses have been closed for a long time now, and are looking forward to re-opening and refreshing what they have to offer. We are keen to support them with opportunities for learning.

“The masterclass sessions will hopefully assist businesses in recognising how our first rate produce can make their offer even more attractive and help in boosting the sector at such a crucial time.”

One business who have benefitted from attending one of the recent workshops is Melin Tregwynt, based in Haverfordwest.

“It was great to take the time to look at what we can do to prepare for whatever re-opening throws our way this year. Also to be able to access such a brilliant resource of recipes, information and ideas. Thank you to all involved in delivering these courses.”

The good news is that all courses are delivered virtually and are fully funded for any business who sources, serves and sells Welsh food.

For a full list of courses available, please visit https://www.foodskills.cymru/wales-a-food-destination/events/

Wales. A Food Destination project offers fully funded one-to-one consultations, so if you are a retail and hospitality business and are looking for support or advice then please contact Laura Alexander at wales@lantra.co.uk.

Wales. A Food Destination is a project funded by the Welsh Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020. Its aim is to support businesses source, serve and sell Welsh Food & Drink.

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