Around four hundred jobs are at risk at the Murco oil refinery in Milford Haven after a potential deal to buy it collapsed.
The firm's parent company Murphy Oil Corporation is understood to have been in talks with with a number of companies for more than three years in a bid to find a buyer. But today Murco announced it will be entering into a period of consultation with workers.
Our West Wales correspondent Kevin Ashford has been following this story.
The union Unite has called on the UK government to step in and save the Murco oil refinery in Milford Haven, which is at risk of closure after a potential sale fell through.
The UK government cannot repeat the mistake of Coryton and allow another of the UK’s oil refineries to close. It needs to do everything possible to maintain refining capacity at Milford Haven to meet the nation’s energy needs and save hundreds of jobs at the site.
The workforce has been under real pressure and worked hard in a climate of uncertainty over the past four years, while the American owner looked for a new buyer.
They have done nothing to deserve this treatment. It‘s now time for all parties that have a stake in the future of Milford Haven to fight tooth and nail to save the refinery.
– Andy Richards, Unite Welsh Secretary
The UK and Welsh governments have both spoken of their determination to work together with Murco to safeguard the future of the plant.
The Welsh Government has said it is "very disappointed" by the news that a deal over the potential sale of the Murco oil refinery has fallen through, putting hundreds of jobs at risk.
Economy Minister Edwina Hart said the Welsh Government would continue to work closely with UK ministers, and bosses at Murco, and "the First Minister will be visiting the site at the earliest opportunity to explore all possible options to retain these valuable jobs at Milford Haven."
We are very disappointed by this announcement and fully recognise the impact this will have on the employees, contractors and businesses in the area. We have been working very closely with Murco over the past four years to try and secure the ongoing operation of the refinery and protect the jobs at the Milford Haven site.
We have spoken to the senior management at Murco this morning to offer our ongoing support. The First Minister will be visiting the site at the earliest opportunity to explore all possible options to retain these valuable jobs at Milford Haven.
We are very keen to work collaboratively with all levels of government and I have already spoken with the UK Minister for Business and Energy to discuss how we can support the employees and the company through this difficult and worrying time.
Murco says it has spent three years trying to find a buyer for its oil refinery at Milford Haven, amid "a particularly challenging market, caused by declining demand and increased international competition."
The company announced it is today entering a period of consultation with workers, including those who work at the Pembrokeshire plant, and acknowledges this "will understandably be an unsettling time for everyone concerned."
Our focus today is on helping our people understand what this means for them.
For over three years, we have left no stone unturned in trying to find a buyer for the plant.
Our efforts highlight the challenges and on-going changes confronting the European refining industry and are in no way a reflection on the attitude and work ethic of the Murco team.
We will continue to do all we can to ensure our employees are supported during this time.
– Tom McKinlay, Managing Director of Murco
Murco is a subsidiary of the Murphy Oil Corporation, an American company.