HUNDREDS of Pembrokeshire families will breathe a sigh of relief this evening (Saturday) after the Western Telegraph learned that talks to secure the sale of the Milford Haven refinery made a significant breakthrough.

The Western Telegraph has been told that a sale to oil entrepreneur Gary Klesch has been agreed, although the deal is yet to be finalised.

The Milford Haven refinery employs around 400 people and has been up for sale for more than three years.

Preseli Pembrokeshire MP Stephen Crabb said tonight: "I am delighted with the breakthrough today in negotiations over the sale of the Murco oil refinery in Milford Haven.

“The agreement in principle reached between Murphy and the buyer is a hugely positive step forward. The sale will secure hundreds of high quality jobs and will enable the refinery to continue operating fully.

"There remain challenges ahead, and a due diligence process to be completed, but I am just so pleased that we have reached this point. I am very optimistic that the sale can be completed.

"It has felt like a race against time to find a new buyer ever since Murphy started the clock on potential closure. I am very pleased that I was able to bring the buyer into the negotiations in the first instance and help broker a deal.

"At every step of the way I have remained in close contact with all parties and have worked tirelessly to keep negotiations flowing when difficulties arose.

"All along I have been incredibly impressed with the dedication of the workforce on site who have stayed focused despite the huge cloud of uncertainty hanging over the refinery."