Market changes

Grangemouth oil refinery likely to close by 2025

Grangemouth is a key employer and supplier of fuel (pic: Terry Murden)

Grangemouth oil refinery is to close as early as 2025 under plans announced by its owner, Petroineos, part of the petrochemicals empire owned by British billionaire Sir James Ratcliffe.

The company, which has informed the Westminster and the Scottish government as well as other interested parties, said it was being forced into the decision by changes in the refining market.

It puts the jobs of up to 500 workers at the facility at risk, though the company said it hoped to transform it into a pure fuel import and export terminal within 18 months

As one of the country’s six large oil refineries it already imports liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the US.

Franck Demay, chief executive of Petroineos Refining  a joint venture between Chinese state-owned PetroChina and London-based Ineos, said it was “business as usual” at the facility for now.

But as the energy transition gathers pace he said “this is a necessary step in adapting our business to reflect the decline in demand for the type of fuels we produce.”

Mr Demay added: “As a prudent operator, we must plan accordingly, but the precise timeline for implementing any change has yet to be determined.

“This is the start of a journey to transform our operation from one that manufactures fuel products into a business that imports finished fuel products for onward distribution to customers.”

Sharon Graham, the general secretary of the trade union Unite, said the announcement “clearly raises concerns for the livelihoods of our members but also poses major questions over energy supply and security going forward”.

Grangemouth accounts for just under a sixth of Britain’s domestically produced refined fuel products, although the mix of products varies between refineries.

According to Petroineos, the refinery is responsible for 4% of Scotland’s GDP and approximately 8% of its manufacturing base.

It is the primary supplier of aviation fuel for Scotland’s main airports, and a major supplier of petrol and diesel ground fuels across the Central Belt.

The 1,700-acre site supplies 70% of the fuel to Scotland’s filling stations as well Northern Ireland and the north of England.

It also provides power to the Forties oil pipeline, which brings oil and gas ashore from the North Sea.

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