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by Louise Wilson
13 December 2023
Grangemouth refinery: ‘No decision’ on closure date

The Grangemouth Petrochemicals Complex and Refinery | Alamy

Grangemouth refinery: ‘No decision’ on closure date

Bosses at the Grangemouth refinery have pushed back against suggestions operations will cease by May 2025 at a meeting with MSPs.

Iain Hardie of Petroineos Manufacturing Scotland Limited told parliament’s economy committee that the company “don’t know” when the closure will be.

It follows the announcement last month that Scotland’s only oil refinery would start works to transition to a fuels import hub.

That work is expected to take 18 months, with a completion date of spring 2025.

But Hardie said: “We have not made a decision as and when we will be closing the Grangemouth refinery. The positive decision we have made is to put in place the investment, the £10m investment, in order to enable to logistics work.”

He added that while the refinery will have to close at some point as profit margins shrink, the announcement was more to do with planning for the future rather than a definite deadline.

However, in addition to the works to transition the site, the company will also be required to pay £40m for a renewed licence to operate the refinery beyond May 2025.

Workers were told about the plan to move to an import hub last month. The UK Government and Scottish Government were formally notified the same day, though Hardie said both had been aware of the “concept” and planning for “well over a year”.

The refinery currently employs around 500 people, but only 100 will be required for a fuels import terminal, leaving 400 jobs at risk.

Economy secretary Neil Gray, who also appeared before the committee, said that 400 was an “assumption, rather than a definite”.

Petroineos expects 100 of its workers to be eligible for retirement by the time the site ceases operations, while a further 50 will be needed for decommissioning and demolition.

Gray added that the government was “still to understand” the detail of job losses but was doing “all we can” to support the workforce. He said he wanted to “maximise” job opportunities for the site.

Regarding jobs in the wider supply chain, the cabinet secretary said the government was currently assessing the situation.

He also said discussions were ongoing about extending the life of the refinery, with a just transition plan to be published by the government in spring 2024.

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