A TASK FORCE set up by the Welsh Government with the aim of helping to keep refining operations at the Murco Milford Haven Refinery has met for the first time.

The Murco Refinery Task Force led by Lord Nick Bourne, Chair of the Haven Waterway Enterprise Zone Board, held its first meeting yesterday (Tuesday).

Economy Minister Edwina Hart set the taskforce the clear objective to engage partners in high-level dialogue to support the company in maintaining the future of refinery operations at the site. The establishment of the group was confirmed last week.

The first meeting of the task force included representatives from Murco Petroleum Limited, UNITE, the Welsh Government, UK Government, Pembrokeshire County Council and Pembrokeshire College in a bid to marshall support to the company for the continence of refinery operations at the site for the future.

MrsHart said: “I am pleased that the taskforce has been able to harness support from all key partners so quickly in responding to the disappointing news last week.

"Murco refinery is integral to the fabric of the oil and gas infrastructure in Wales and the Welsh economy and I know the group under Nick Bourne’s stewardship is committed to exploring every possible angle in supporting the company and the workforce going forward. The task force has my full support”

Members discussed possible options to help support the company respond to the emerging scenarios, further discussions will be held over the coming weeks.

Lord Bourne, Chair of the Task Force, said: “The Murco oil refinery is a very important employer for the local economy in Pembrokeshire and for the energy sector in Wales. The first meeting of the force was well attended by all key partners and I welcome the collaborative approach and good will of the company, the unions and government departments in seeking to find a positive outcome for long term employment at the site. I am determined that we will to do all that we can to support the delivery of a sustainable future for the refinery.”

Murphy Oil, the refinery's American owners, announced last week that it would be consulting on future options for the facility after takeover talks with a London-based private equity fund broke down.