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by Louise Wilson
23 November 2023
Scottish Government pledges to support Grangemouth refinery in just transition

The Grangemouth Petrochemicals Complex and Refinery | Alamy

Scottish Government pledges to support Grangemouth refinery in just transition

Economy secretary Neil Gray has committed to providing “as much support as we can” following the announcement that the Grangemouth refinery could cease operations from 2025.

The cabinet secretary has written to UK energy secretary Claire Coutinho seeking a meeting to discuss the matter given Grangemouth’s role in wider UK energy security.

Responding to an urgent question in the Holyrood chamber, Gray emphasised that no final decision had been taken on a closure.

He said changes at the site were part of “necessary preparations” to transition it to an import terminal and the government was looking at other options including supporting it to play a role in carbon capture or biofuel.

He added: “We absolutely recognise the uncertainty, the anxiety, the feeling of despair that this announcement will place on a range of people and workers associated with Grangemouth.

“I give my assurance to work collaboratively with all partners to ensure the impact of this and subsequent decisions are mitigated as far as we possibly can.”

The refinery currently employs 400 people but an import terminal would only require a staff of 100.

The cabinet secretary and first minister met with Petroineos, the owner of the refinery, on Thursday morning where they received assurance the decision was a commercial one based on global factors.

Gray told MSPs it was “not a decision that has been taken because of anything this government – or indeed the UK government – has done”.

This follows suggestions this week that the Scottish Government’s potential support for a presumption against new oil and gas development was a factor.

A just transition plan for Grangemouth will be published by the government in spring 2024.

SNP MSP Michelle Thomson, whose Falkirk East constituency includes Grangemouth, called for a taskforce to be created to support all those effected by the potential closure.

She said: “The impact will indeed be felt by those directly employed by the refinery, but also small businesses and the wider supply chain around Grangemouth… The ultimate closure potentially will be felt acutely in the town.”

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