Murco’s network of filling stations could be involved in a management buyout together with the company’s threatened oil refinery at Milford Haven.
Managing director Tom McKinlay has told staff he is taking a leave of absence while he works on the plan.
Brian Kelly, head of Murphy’s business development in West Africa, the Middle East and Britain, will replace McKinlay and lead Murco’s negotiations with the potential buyers.
McKinlay’s move comes during a 45-day consultation with the employees about the future of the Milford Haven refinery.
This began after negotiations over the sale of the business broke down at the beginning of April.
At the end of last month the company said it had ceased purchasing crude oil to be processed at the plant and it later moved to reassure its dealers that they would continue to be served as normal.
The plant is also the focus of a task force set up by the Welsh Government’s economy minister Edwina Hart in a bid to safeguard jobs on the site.