- Posted by: Joyce Watson MS
- Category: Feature
Following the establishment earlier this month of a special group to prevent the closure of the Murco oil refinery in Milford Haven and protect 400 jobs, Joyce Watson AM has asked the Welsh Government for the latest news.
At Assembly question time on Tuesday (29 April), Mrs Watson called for a government statement on what progress has been made since the high-level task force was set up on 11 April. She said:
“Over the Easter recess…the Minister announced the establishment of a special taskforce to help to secure the future of the refinery. That is very welcome and well supported in the Milford Haven area, where there are over 400 jobs in the plant alone and 1,200 jobs potentially at risk in the wider community.
“Could I ask the Minister for an update report on what progress has been made so far, as soon as that is possible?”
Government minister Lesley Griffiths responded:
“The Minister for the Economy, Science and Transport has established a taskforce to support the company in maintaining the future of the refinery operations at the site. The taskforce is led by Lord Nick Bourne, chair of the Milford Haven enterprise zone board, and the membership of the group includes representation from the UK Government. The Minister will update Members as appropriate.”
The Labour Mid and West AM has lobbied Pembrokeshire Council, the Department of Energy & Climate Change and Murco about the endangered refinery. She has also signed a Unite the union petition calling on Prime Minister David Cameron to “not call time on Welsh oil jobs, the industry and our economy”.
The ‘Save Murco Milford Haven’ petition states that, as well as employing 400 workers and over 200 contractors, Milford Haven refinery annually spends £20 million on material and services with companies in Wales and the UK. It compares the situation in Pembrokeshire with that of Coryton oil refinery in Essex, which ceased production in June 2012 with the loss of “thousands of jobs”.
The Murco Refinery Task Force led by Lord Nick Bourne, Chair of the Haven Waterway Enterprise Zone Board, and comprising representatives from Murco, Unite, the UK and Welsh governments and Pembrokeshire County Council, held its first meeting on 15 April. Economy Minister Edwina Hart has instructed the group to engage partners in high-level discussions to support the company in maintaining the future of refinery operations at the site.