LONDON, March 18 (Reuters) - Murphy Oil is in advanced talks to sell its Milford Haven refinery in Wales to a low-profile private equity fund that will continue operating the struggling plant, sources familiar with the situation said on Tuesday.
Arkansas-based Murphy Oil has been trying to sell the 135,000 barrels-per-day plant and its Murco petrol stations for around four years. But buyers who were willing to keep it running have proved elusive as European refineries fight for survival due to failing demand.
A deal is now moving closer with London-based Greybull Capital after it had agreed to fund a major planned maintenance at the plant within the next 18 months, sources said.
"There is a form of agreement pending finance," said a source close to the negotiations.
The maintenance turnaround at Milford Haven was expected to cost less than $75 million, the source said. The full cost of the deal was unclear.
The source said that a commitment to fund the turnaround was vital to prevent any buyer from running the plant for a short time before closing it down to sell assets, or demand a government bailout.
Greybull has in the past focused on financing deals to buy struggling British high street chains such as the ultimately doomed electrical goods outlet Comet. It declined to comment on the Milford Haven discussions.
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