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Murco deal collapses



Dead Failed: Murco Milford Haven (IMAGE: MIKE HILLEN/HERALD)

Dead Failed: Murco Milford Haven (IMAGE: MIKE HILLEN/HERALD)

THE DEAL between Klesch Refining Limited and Murco Petroleum Limited has failed it has emerged tonight (Nov 4)

In a statement Murphy oil has said:

“Murco Petroleum Limited a subsidiary of Murphy Petroleum Limited regrets to announce that its agreement to sell the Milford Haven Refinery and terminal assets to Klesch Refining Limited is no longer in effect. Despite every effort by Murphy to complete this sale process, conditions necessary for the sale were not able to be met. The parties are not engaged in further discussions.”

“Murco has run this sale process for over four years, and has engaged with a large number of potential buyers of these assets. The Company has now exhausted all options available for the sale of the site as a refinery, and is therefore left with no choice but to operate the site solely as a petroleum storage and distribution terminal.”

“The refinery is currently in a period of shut-down and will be decommissioned while the company seeks a buyer for the terminal facility along with the three inland terminals. While the terminal facility will continue to employ personnel in Pembrokeshire, this will unfortunately still mean a significant number of redundancies.”


21.50 HRS

Incredibly disappointed: Stephen Crabb

Incredibly disappointed: Stephen Crabb

Stephen Crabb said tonight “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 good will 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.

I will be holding an open surgery from 12.30pm this Friday at Cedar Court, Milford Haven for Murco employees and families affected to discuss the situation. For further information: Contact my office on 01437 767555.

22.29 HRS

Labour’s Paull Miller has said “Tonight’s announcement is a hammer blow for those working at Murco and for their families. My father and both my brothers have worked on the site over the last 30 years, one brother still does. I know first hand just how devastating this news is for my family and it will be exactly the same for countless families from right across Pembrokeshire.”

22.32 HRS

Economy Minster Edwina Hart has told The Herald: “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.”

22.36 HRS

Stephen Crabb MP just tweeted: “Incredibly disappointing news about Murco refinery tonight. Desperately sorry for workforce & their families – endured months of uncertainty”

22.42 HRS

Wales Office minister Baroness Randerson said: “This is extremely disappointing news for the workforce at Murco and their families.

22.45 HRS

Cllr Jon Nutting from the Pembrokeshire Alliance Group contacted The Herald saying: “This is a very sad day for Pembrokeshire and the people who will be directly affected.”

“I hope we are not going to find out down the line that eyes were not taken off the ball. I find it hard to understand that a deal supposedly done and dusted could fall through at such a late hour.”

“This is not the time for those with political power to sit on their hands. We have to try our best to see this as an opportunity, a time to invest not just money in our economy but time and effort. Time for Westminster and Cardiff bay to walk the walk and sort this out. Let’s see if PCC can do anything positive. The worst thing for Pembrokeshire will be if they all wait for someone else to get things moving. Let’s see who is capable of taking up the batten.”

22.52 HRS

Economy Minster Edwina Hart has said in a further statement to the press: “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 plant and its staff will not stop here. We have been working with the management at Murco since 2010 to try to maximise the opportunities for the sale of the refinery. In April, I established a task force to marshal support from high level stakeholders for the maintenance of refinery operations at the site for the future. The work of this task force will carry on to maximise the opportunities for employment at the site.

“We will of course 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.”

22.52 HRS 

Stephen Crabb MP tweeting: “Grateful to UK & Welsh Govs for all their efforts to keep Murco refinery deal alive.The closure will be a huge blow to West Wales economy.”

23.01 HRS 

Full statement from Wales Office minister Baroness Randerson: “This is extremely disappointing news for the workforce at Murco and their families. Both the UK and Welsh Government have worked tirelessly throughout this process to try to secure the future of the refinery and it is regrettable that ultimately a buyer has not been able to reach a deal with Murphy Oil. Supporting the staff at Murco is now our immediate concern and we stand ready to assist in any way we can.”

10.10 HRS Wednesday

Delyth Evans, Labour Parliamentary Candidate for South Pembrokeshire told The Herald: “This is a very severe blow to the Murco workforce and their families as well as to the supply chain and the wider community.  I welcome the statement by Welsh Government Minister Edwina Hart that the support provided up till now will not stop here.  Firstly it is essential that every effort is made by Murco, the Welsh and UK Governments to retain as many jobs as possible within the facility and to minimise redundancies.  Secondly, a comprehensive package of support must be provided to those who lose their jobs, and I expect to see the UK and Welsh Governments working together on this.  And thirdly, everything possible must be done to promote and develop the Haven Enterprise Zone as a fantastic place for energy-related businesses to invest with its natural deep water, excellent facilities and the availability of a highly skilled workforce.  There is huge potential in the area to develop the energy technologies we will need for the future, and we must take every opportunity to tell companies in the UK and across the world what Pembrokeshire has to offer.”

 10.22 HRS Wednesday

Alan Card, Union Convener, said: “We are already in talks with both Westminster and the Welsh Assembly Government. Our Regional Secretary is meeting later today with Edwina Hart to look at reforming the task-force. This is a massive blow, not only for Pembrokeshire but also for the whole Welsh economy as the refinery contributes 17% of Wales’ domestic product. I am travelling to Milford Haven today to meet with members and to try and clarify the situation.”

10.26 HRS Wednesday

Commenting on the collapse of a deal to save the Murco oil refinery in Milford Haven, William Graham AM, Shadow Minister for Business, said:  “My thoughts are with workers at Murco and their families as well as all those businesses who are involved in the oil refinery supply chain.

“This terrible news is a body blow for the West Wales economy and will leave thousands of highly skilled workers facing uncertainty as we approach Christmas. I’m sure that both the UK and Welsh Governments will wish to provide as much support as possible to the local community to support families who have lost their source of income.”

Paul Davies, Assembly Member for Preseli Pembrokeshire, said, “I am very upset to hear that this deal has fallen through, with devastating implications for so many Pembrokeshire families. This dire news will leave many Pembrokeshire businesses which were involved in the supply chain with significantly reduced orders and could result in many further job losses.

“I will be doing everything I can to ensure that Pembrokeshire workers affected by this oil refinery closure will receive every possible support to enable them to find new employment.”

10.35 HRS Wednesday

Following the failure of the sale of the Murco oil refinery in Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire County Council has this morning been in contact with the Welsh Government to help reconvene the Murco Task Force, the Authority said in a statement

The high-level body was originally set up by the Welsh Government to support the refinery’s parent company, Murphy Oil, to find a buyer.

The Council is also liaising with other agencies, such as Job Centre Plus and Pembrokeshire College, as well as its own Futureworks/Workways teams in order to offer as much assistance as possible to the refinery employees and the supply chain companies.

Council Leader, Council Jamie Adams, said the announcement by Murphy Oil was “devastating news” for the workforce and their families, especially as the sale of the refinery seemed to have been agreed earlier this summer.

“We will be doing everything we can to soften the blow for the individuals affected,” he added.

11.21 HRS Wednesday

Local Assembly Member Paul Davies has expressed his disappointment that a deal to sell Murco oil refinery in Milford Haven has fallen through.

Mr Davies said, “This is a very sad day for the people of Pembrokeshire and my heart goes out to the workers at the refinery and their families. This is bitterly disappointing news. The refinery employs 400 people, all of whom will need support to find alternative employment. The collapse of this sale is a huge blow to the Pembrokeshire economy and sadly, this may take years for the County to recover.”

He added, “I understand that both the UK and Welsh Governments worked together on this matter and unfortunately, in the end they were not successful. However, both Governments must continue to work collaboratively to secure the refinery’s future. In the meantime, support must be made available to the workers and their families, who now face a bleak period of uncertainty in the run up to Christmas.”

11.24 HRS Wednesday

Pembrokeshire Councillor Ken Rowlands said: “This is devastating news for our communities. My heart goes out to all the families who will be affected. It is a huge disappointment to everyone , when we believed  that a solution had been found at last. Both the Westminster Government and the Welsh Government must do their utmost to alleviate the problems in any way they can during these times of austerity.  This collapse of the negotiations couldn’t have happened at a worse time.”

 11.26 HRS Wednesday

Plaid Cymru AM for Mid and West Wales, Simon Thomas has reacted to the news that hundreds of jobs are under threat in Pembrokeshire as a proposed deal to buy an oil refinery has collapsed. Simon Thomas AM described the news as devastating for employees, their families and the local community.

The Party of Wales Mid and West AM Simon Thomas said: “This is devastating news for employees of the Murco refinery and for their families and I send my deepest sympathies to them. The future looks uncertain for them and I expect the Welsh Government to offer them every support as they move forward.

“The impact of the closure will also be felt in the wider Welsh economy. Milford Haven is an important economic hub and we need to work to make it an attractive location for new businesses to invest with new technologies. Wales is an energy-rich country and can be a world leader again. Milford Haven already has a highly skilled workforce, and the Welsh Government now needs to work to ensure that these skills can unlock new employment opportunities for the workforce at Murco.”

12.04 HRS Wednesday

Local AM, Rebecca Evans said: “This is extremely sad news for workforce at the Murco refinery, and for the local businesses which rely on the refinery for their viability. I know that the Welsh Government pulled out all the stops to try and secure a sale and protect jobs at the site, and I pay tribute to everyone who has worked so hard over many months to try and find a good outcome. I have already asked the Minister to explore what help can be offered to affected workers – for example, via the Welsh Government’s React scheme.”

12.17 HRS Wednesday

Simon Hart MP said: “This is very sad news for everyone involved, especially given that a deal was so close to being signed. To be let down at the 11th hour must be particularly painful.  I know that our County will make every effort to help those affected by this news”

14.25 HRS Wednesday

Edwina Hart MBE CStJ AM, Minister for Economy, Science and Transport has made an Oral Statement at the Welsh Assembly:

Edwina Hart said: “Members will wish to note that efforts by Murphy Oil Corporation to sell the Milford Haven refinery, as a going concern to a third party, have unfortunately proved unsuccessful, following the collapse of negotiations with the Klesch Group, late last night.”

“This is a deeply unsettling time for the company, its employees, their families and the wider community in Pembrokeshire.  The Milford Haven refinery has been integral to the fabric of the oil and gas infrastructure in Wales and the Welsh economy for many years, providing for a significant number of high value, high skilled employment  opportunities.
Since 2010, we have been working with Murphy Oil Corporation to maximise the chance of a sale of the refinery as a going concern to a potential third party investor, following a decision by the Board to exit the refining sector in the UK.”
“We have been working with the UK Government to support this deal between Murphy oil and the Klesch Group. While the detail of that support is obviously commercially confidential, I can assure Members that every possible route has been explored to make this deal happen.”
“I understand that Murphy Oil Corporation will now proceed to convert the site into an oil import terminal and which is likely to result in a number of redundancies at the site. We will all continue to work tirelessly with the company management to maximise the opportunities for employment at the site, ensure the ongoing viability of the terminal and assist to find a new owner for the operation.”
“We will of course be assisting any of the workforce in Wales facing redundancy with ReAct support and advice and, continue to work with the company and third party partners to explore all options for maintaining the high value highly skilled jobs in the area.”
“In April,  I established the MURCO task force to marshal support from high level stakeholders to support the company and I have therefore asked the MURCO refinery Taskforce to continue that work to maximise the opportunities for employment at the site.”
“As a Government, we are determined to do all that we can to support the employer, its workforce and those in the local supply chain, I am therefore strengthening the presence of  Business Wales  in the area to ensure that we provide support and advice for those local businesses that are affected by the closure  to explore new markets and those wishing to set up in business.”
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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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