OFFICIAL Government documents outlining the potential closures of two UK oil refineries and thousands of job losses under a no deal Brexit were redacted before being released yesterday (Wednesday).

The paragraph on no deal impact on the UK oil refining industry was the only part of the Operation Yellowhammer documents to be blacked out before publication.

Parliament had voted to force the Government to publish Yellowhammer.

The documents – described by the Government as “reasonable worst case planning assumptions” – detailed major hold-ups at channel ports, electricity price increases, shortages of some foods and delays to medicine imports.

The document also says: "Low-income groups will be disproportionately affected by any price rises in food and fuel."

But the details on the potential impact on the UK oil refining industry, point number 15 in the documents, were redacted ‘on the grounds of commercial sensitivity’.

Milford Mercury:

However, the details had previously been leaked to The Sunday Times.

Point 15 said: “Facing EU tariffs makes petrol exports to the EU uncompetitive. Industry had plans to mitigate the impact on refinery margins and profitability but UK Government policy to set petrol import tariffs at 0% inadvertently undermines these plans.

“This leads to significant financial losses and announcement of two refinery closures (and transition to import terminals) and direct job losses (about 2,000).

“Resulting strike action at refineries would lead to disruptions to fuel availability for 1-2 weeks in the regions directly supplied by the refineries.”

Valero, which operates the Pembroke Refinery, has repeatedly voiced its concerns over the potential for 0% petrol import tariffs.

The refinery employs round 500 people plus hundreds of contractors and is vital to the Pembrokeshire and Welsh economy.

The refinery’s General Manager, Ed Tomp, said: “Over the last 12 months we have made preparations to ensure that Valero Pembroke Refinery continues to operate safely and reliably regardless of whether the UK leaves the European Union on October 31.

“However we are concerned that 0% import tariffs on petrol could create an unfair advantage for importers, resulting in a negative impact on all UK refineries.

“As such we have been working with UKPIA (United Kingdom Petroleum Industry Association) to ensure our concerns – and the potential impact of zero tariffs - are clearly communicated to the UK Government.”

Last week Port of Milford Haven chief executive Andy Jones told Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales Kevin Foster MP just how vital Valero is.

Mr Jones said: “Not only is Valero a national asset, in Pembrokeshire it plays a critical role in supporting an otherwise rural economy and is one of Pembrokeshire’s largest employers.

“Post-Brexit, providing the necessary conditions for continued business investment of businesses like Valero in the face of global competition will be essential in order to secure the viability of the energy cluster here.”

Stephen Crabb MP has also raised concerns.

The Conservative MP for Preseli Pembrokeshire previously said: "I hope Boris Johnson can get a better deal agreed in the autumn but, if not, I will continue to urge a rethink on the proposed no deal tariffs so that a level playing field can be maintained for UK oil refineries."

Operation Yellowhammer scenarios:

- Protests and counter-protests will take place across the UK and may absorb "significant" amounts of police resource. There may also be a rise in public disorder and community tensions.

- The document notes that day one after exit is a Friday "which may not be to our advantage" and may coincide with the end of the October half-term school holidays.

- Flow of cross-Channel goods could be reduced to 40% of current rates on day one, with "significant disruption lasting up to six months", and the document adds: "Unmitigated, this will have an impact on the supply of medicines and medical supplies."

- On food, it warns that some fresh supplies will decrease and that "critical dependencies for the food chain" such as key ingredients "may be in shorter supply". It says these factors would not lead to overall food shortages "but will reduce the availability and choice of products and will increase price, which could impact vulnerable groups".

- Disruption to flow across the short Channel Straits would also cause "significant" queues in Kent and delays to HGVs attempting to use the routes to travel to France. In a reasonable worst case scenario, HGVs could face maximum delays of one-and-a-half and two-and-a-half days before being able to cross the border. The document says the worst disruption to the short Channel Straits might last for up to three months before it improves by a significant level to around 50-70% (due to more traders getting prepared), although there could continue to be some disruption for significantly longer.

- The document says an increase in inflation following EU exit would "significantly" impact adult social care providers due to increasing staff and supply costs, and may lead to provider failure, with smaller providers impacted within 2-3 months and larger providers 4-6 months after exit.

- The document says UK citizens travelling to and from the EU "may be subject to increased immigration checks at EU border posts" causing delays.

- The analysis indicates that the aim of avoiding a hard border in Northern Ireland may be "unsustainable".

- The document says up to 282 EU and EEA nations fishing vessels could enter illegally, or already be fishing in UK waters on day one which is "likely to cause anger and frustration" in the UK catching sector which could lead to clashes between fishing vessels.

- Public and business readiness for a no-deal will remain at a low level, and will decrease to lover levels, because the absence of a clear decision on the form of EU Exit (customs union, no deal etc) does not provide a concrete situation for third parties to prepare for. Readiness will be further limited by "increasing EU Exit fatigue", the document says.