Murphy Oil may close Milford Haven refinery in Wales -paper

Sun Nov 3, 2013 1:38pm EST

Nov 3 (Reuters) - Murphy Oil's 130,000 barrels-per-day Milford Haven refinery in Wales may be closed by the company after it failed to find a buyer, Britain's Sunday Times newspaper reported.

The refinery, operated by U.S. oil and gas company Murphy Oil subsidiary Murco, is the latest British plant to face closure as the industry battles lower demand and increased competition from new, modern refineries in the Middle East and Asia.

The Sunday Times said it was "understood" the company was looking at closing the plant after a three-year search to find a buyer was unfruitful. The paper did not name or identify its source for the news.

Officials at Murphy Oil were not immediately available for a comment outside of normal business hours.

Last month, Scotland's 210,000 bpd Grangemouth refinery won a last minute reprieve from owners Ineos, after workers and the Unite union accepted the company's proposed changes to their pay and benefits, ending a long-running standoff. Grangemouth is the only refinery in Scotland, which holds a political referendum on independence from Britain next year.

Industry insiders are watching closely to see which plant might close next due to perceived overcapacity and flat to negative margins after the closure in 2012 of Coryton in the East of England after its owner Petroplus collapsed.

Milford Haven is one of two oil refineries in Wales.

The Sunday Times said Murco had offered a "dowry" worth "tens of millions" of pounds to potential buyers, but without success.

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