Negotiations about the sale by Murphy Oil of its Murco business in the UK, including its Milford Haven oil refinery, were in the final stages according to a number of reports, as Forecourt Trader went to press.

According to Reuters, oil entrepreneur Gary Klesch was in the final stages of exclusive talks with Murphy Oil and a decision on a deal would be made by early this month at the latest.

Neither the Swiss-based Klesch Group or Murphy Oil would comment.

Meanwhile, Welsh newspapers quoted Wales Office minister Stephen Crabb as saying talks were coming to a head. If a deal is not done, it is expected that Murphy will move to close the Milford Haven plant, putting most of its some 500 employees out of work. The plant is currently not buying crude oil, but is recycling oil products to keep it operational.