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UPDATED: New deadline in Murco negotiations



Uncertainty over deal: Murco, Milford Haven (IMAGE: MIKE HILLEN/HERALD)

Uncertainty over deal: Murco, Milford Haven (IMAGE: MIKE HILLEN/HERALD)


THE DEAL to save Murco oil refinery in Milford Haven from closure was not finalised by an agreed deadline of midnight on Friday (Oct 31), and a new time limit has been set for the sale of the plant to the Klesch Group.

The Pembrokeshire Herald understands, from sources close to the negotiations, that buyer Gary Klesch is still interested in proceeding, but the challenges of getting all the funding in place by the original deadline proved insurmountable.

A presentation which was due to take place on Monday (Nov 3) at the refinery, where workers would have met Mr Klesch as proud new owner of the plant has been put on hold, sparking worry amongst workers and their families.

However, the best information that this newspaper has this evening (Nov 3) is that the deal – which involves a £100m loan guarantee from the Treasury and a £10m grant from the Welsh Government – has been delayed rather than cancelled. The new deadline for the plant to be sold is now Thursday (Nov 6).

Negotiations were going on at the highest levels of government over the weekend, and into Monday, the Herald has been told

Stephen Crabb MP who is central in the negotiations was in contact with The Herald on Saturday, and although was unable to comment did say that he felt that the lack of a break-though in the negotiations was “deeply frustrating”.

“This must be an awful time for the workers and their families”, said Mr Crabb.

He added: “Everyone is trying to keep the deal alive and talks continue.”

The refinery, which can process 135,000 barrels of oil per day opened in 1973 and its owner, Murphy Oil Corporation, had struggled to find a buyer since it was put on the market nearly four years ago.


Sources: Negotiations at the 'highest levels of government' this weekend (IMAGE: MIKE HILLEN/HERALD)

Sources: Negotiations at the ‘highest levels of government’ this weekend (IMAGE: MIKE HILLEN/HERALD)

Tycoon Klesch, whose £4bn Klesch Group spans chemicals, metals, oils and trading, has also agreed last week to buy half Tata’s European steel business. The loss-making Long Products Division makes about 3m tons a year for buildings and railways

The deal sparked fears of heavy job cuts among its 6,500 workers, with almost 4,000 based at the 150-year-old Scunthorpe steelworks. Tata picked up the site when it bought Anglo-Dutch steel-maker Corus in 2007 for $13bn but has racked up heavy losses as sales slumped and cheaper Asian products flooded Europe.

Klesch insisted the sale does not include a dowry from Tata to cover redundancies, pensions, investment or future losses, but refused to give details of the terms.

Sources said the sale hinges on a deal with Tata — owner of Jaguar Land Rover — not to close Scunthorpe for up to four years. Klesch Group said: “The assertion that Tata Steel is transferring any monies in relation to this transaction is complete rubbish.”

The billionaire, who reportedly has yet to visit Scunthorpe, said he has given no guarantees on keeping sites open and has not spoken to the government.

Speaking to a reporter from The Times he said: “It’s not on the table. I’ve not been asked about it, but it’s not been something we’ve discussed. Until we go on site and determine what the right size of this workforce is, there’s not much we can do.”

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Police: RNLI ‘most likely saved man’s life’ following tombstoning incident



POLICE have issued an urgent warning following a tombstoning incident Tenby on Saturday evening (Apr 10).

A multi-agency operation was launched just after 6pm following reports of a man in difficulty after jumping from cliffs into the sea.

A spokesperson for Dyfed-Powys police told The Herald: “We were called to the beach opposite St Catherine’s Island at around 6.15pm today, where a man had got into difficulty after jumping off the cliff into the water.

“On the arrival of officers, RNLI were at the scene and were administering CPR to the 23-year-old who was unconscious and not breathing.

“Fortunately, he regained consciousness shortly after and was taken to hospital for assessment.

Inspector Gavin Howells added: “This incident highlights the serious danger posed by tombstoning or cliff jumping, and the potentially life-threatening consequences.

“We urge people not to take part in this sort of activity anywhere along our coastline, and not to put themselves or the emergency services at risk for a thrill.

“We would like to thank our colleagues at the RNLI for their swift response to this incident, and for their actions which most likely saved this man’s life.”

RNLI Tenby posted on Facebook the following: “The Georgina Taylor was launched after person seen in difficulty in water

“Tenby’s RNLI inshore lifeboat was launched at around 6.25pm on Saturday, following a report of somebody in difficulty in the sea off Castle Beach.

“The volunteer crew were quickly on scene and immediately saw the casualty, who had been pulled from the water and was on the rocks.

“The casualty was taken from the rocks and into the lifeboat, where Casualty Care was administered whilst the helmsman made best speed to the harbour.

“As the lifeboat was entering the harbour, an ambulance was arriving at the slipway.

“The crew then assisted the ambulance personnel in getting the casualty onto the stretcher and into the ambulance, before re-housing the lifeboat.

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Police and drugs advice service issue warning over ‘deadly batch’ of heroin



POLICE have asked the media to issue a warning over a batch of heroin.

The drug circulating in west Wales, first detected in Llanelli, is particularly dangerous, it has been confirmed.

“We are warning drug users to take extra care following reports of a particularly harmful batch of heroin circulating in the Llanelli area” said a Dyfed-Powys Police spokesperson.

“We have reasons to believe some drugs being distributed and used in the Carmarthenshire area at present have been contaminated with other substances and could be extremely dangerous for anyone taking them.

“We would also appeal to drug users to seek medical attention immediately if they become unwell.

“Please share this information with anyone you believe could come into contact with these drugs.

”In an emergency or if you think someone’s life is at risk always dial 999.”

Earlier this week Barod, the drug and alcohol abuse service reported a dangerous and toxic heroin circulating in Pembroke Dock which a spokesperson described as being ‘potentially deadly’.

To comes as Public Health England issued a formal alert about the risks of heroin containing fentanyl or carfentanyl.

The warning reads: “There is significant evidence from a small number of post-mortem results of recent drug user deaths and from police seizures that some heroin may contain fentanyl or carfentanyl added by dealers.

“These are highly potent synthetic opioids and very small amounts can cause severe or even fatal toxicity.

“Those of you in contact with heroin users should be alert to the increased possibility of overdose arising from heroin cut with these synthetic opioids, be able to recognise possible symptoms of overdose and respond appropriately.”

The fentanyls are a group of synthetic opioids; some have legitimate uses while others are illicit drugs.

Fentanyl is about 100 times more potent than morphine and is a licensed medicine used to treat severe and terminal pain. Carfentanyl is 4,000 – 10,000 times more potent than morphine and principally used as an animal tranquilliser.

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Tenby’s famous walrus ‘Wally’ has been spotted again



TENBY’S most famous marine animal has been spotted again after fears she had been scared away.

Wally was spotted on Friday evening by the seaside town’s Lifeboat station.

Thought to be a two-year-old male, the walrus’s return comes after it was feared she had been disturbed by people flocking to catch a glimpse of her and “getting too close”

The animal has attracted hundreds of people to the seaside town now that the travel restrictions with Wales have been lifted to coincide with the Easter school holidays.

Wally was last seen on Monday, but  members of the public were warned it was in the animal’s “best interests” to be “left alone” as much as possible and they were urged to “avoid the temptation to get near and disturb” her.

A joint statement was issued by the RSPCA, Tenby harbour master Chris Salisbury, Welsh Marine Life Rescue, Tenby lifeboat coxswain Phil John, British Divers Marine Life Rescue, Natural Resources Wales and CSIP Marine Environmental Rescue said that they were concerned to hear that people had tried to get close by using personal watercraft or paddle and surfboards.

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