Oil giants to combine refineries and cut jobs

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The Independent Online
Elf, the French oil giant, and US groups Gulf and Murco confirmed yesterday they were to merge their UK refining and marketing operations. About 500 jobs will be lost, writes Chris Godsmark.

By the middle of next year the three companies intend to create a business which will combine refineries in Milford Haven and three headquarters buildings in North London and Cheltenham. The aim is to make cost savings of more than pounds 50m a year.

The merged group will have 1,300 employees and 1,500 petrol stations, though more job cuts are likely when the number of garage outlets is cut. The firms have petrol operations concentrated in similar parts of Britain. The tie-up would involve Elf and Gulf taking a 41.25 per cent stake in the venture, with Murco taking the remaining 17.5 per cent.