Grangemouth oil refinery in Scotland is to cease operations and could do so as early as 2025 under plans announced by its owner, Petroineos, part of the petrochemicals empire owned by Monaco-based British billionaire Sir James Ratcliffe.
Trade unions raised concerns about the impact on livelihoods of the 500 people directly employed at the facility, near Falkirk, and on the UK’s fuel supply from the closure of one of the country’s six large oil refineries.
Petroineos, which has discussed its plans with Westminster and the Scottish government, said it had had no choice but to adapt to global pressures affecting the refining market.
The company said it hoped to transform Grangemouth, which already imports liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the US, into a pure fuel import and export terminal within 18 months.
Franck Demay, chief executive of Petroineos Refining, said it was “business as usual” at the facility for now.
“As the energy transition gathers pace, this is a necessary step in adapting our business to reflect the decline in demand for the type of fuels we produce,” he said. “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 is the only major facility of its kind in Scotland. It accounts for just under a sixth of Britain’s domestically produced refined fuel products, although the mix of products varies between refineries.
“Unite will leave no stone unturned in the fight for jobs and will hold politicians to account for their actions,” said Graham.
More to follow …