Esso Refinery, Milford Haven

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Coordinates: 51°42′29″N 4°59′20″W / 51.708°N 4.989°W / 51.708; -4.989

Esso Refinery
CountryUnited Kingdom
CityHerbrandston, Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire
Refinery details
Commissioned1960 (1960)
DecommissionedMarch 1983 (1983-03)
No. of employees350

The Esso Refinery at Milford Haven was an oil refinery situated on the Pembrokeshire coast in Wales. Construction started in 1957 and the refinery was opened in 1960 by the Duke of Edinburgh.[1] Construction cost £18 million and the refinery had the initial capacity to process 4.5 million tons of crude oil a year.[1]

As originally conceived the refinery worked in conjunction with Esso's older, larger refinery at Fawley on Southampton water. Milford Haven refinery supplied the west coast and Fawley the rest of the country.[2] Milford Haven also supplemented Fawley's fuel oil deliveries to the London area. The refinery shipped semi-refined heavy gas oil to Fawley for further refining. There were also shipments to Ireland and northern Europe. Most of the refinery's crude came from the Persian Gulf shipped in tankers such as the Esso Scotia of 249,952 deadweight tons.[2]

The refining distillation capacity over the operational life of the refinery was as follows.[3][4][5]

Esso Refinery, Milford Haven refining capacity
Year Capacity (million tonnes per year)
1960 4.5
1963 4.8
1964 6.3
1965 6.3
1972 6.3
1974 15.0
1975 15.0
1979 8.7

The labour force was 350 upon opening in 1960 and had fallen to 280 by 1970.[2]

Most of the product from the refinery, about 95 per cent, was sent out by ship. However, the refinery was connected to the national rail network. Trains carrying liquefied gas were sent to the Midlands and Scotland.[2] During the period January to June 1969, there were 656 ships delivering to or from the Esso refinery, handling 2.81 million tons of oil products.[2]

The refinery closed down in March 1983.[6] Today, the site has been converted by the owners ExxonMobil into the South Hook LNG terminal.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Refinery Opens". Eugene Register-Guard. 4 December 1960.
  2. ^ a b c d e Watts, D.G. (January 1970). "Milford Haven and its Oil Industry, 1958-69". Geography. 55 (1): 64–72 – via JSTOR.
  3. ^ Luckas, M.R. (April 1965). "Recent developments in the United Kingdom oil industry". Geography. 50 (2): 154.
  4. ^ Vielvoye, Roger (19 November 1973). "Massive build-up of oil refining capacity". The Times.
  5. ^ Energy Institute, United Kingdom refining distillation capacity, EI Datasheet 07, January 2019
  6. ^ Ahlstrand, Bruce W. (1990). The quest for productivity. Cambridge University Press. p. 74. ISBN 978-0-521-36380-8.
  7. ^ Jones, Ceri (16 February 2004). "Call for gas plant disaster plan". The Western Mail.