Murphy Oil May Close U.K. Refinery If Search for New Buyer Fails

Murphy Oil Corp. (MUR) may close its U.K. refinery if it fails to find a new buyer after talks collapsed with the latest candidate in a three-year hunt for an acquirer.

The company and its U.K. unit plan talks with a “small number of interested parties, which may or may not lead to allowing the refinery to continue to operate,” the El Dorado, Arkansas-based company said in an e-mailed statement.

The plant, with capacity to process 135,000 barrels of oil a day, may be the third in the U.K. to close in five years as cheaper facilities in Asia squeeze margins from refining fuels such as gasoline and diesel. Murphy Oil was in advanced talks with a potential buyer for the U.K. business, it said March 17.

The company entered into a “period of consultation” with workers at the Milford Haven refinery in Wales, it said today.

Murphy Oil said in January 2012 that it may convert the site into a storage or import terminal. A year earlier, it had expanded the refinery from 108,000 barrels daily.

The U.K.’s Coryton refinery in the south and Teesside plant in northern England, owned by the now-bankrupt Petroplus Holdings AG, were converted to storage as no buyers ready to continue oil-processing operations there emerged. The possible closing of Milford Haven would leave the U.K. with six crude-processing plants.

To contact the reporters on this story: Nidaa Bakhsh in London at nbakhsh@bloomberg.net; Konstantin Rozhnov in London at krozhnov@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Will Kennedy at wkennedy3@bloomberg.net Tony Barrett, Amanda Jordan

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