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Britain’s Energy Crisis: Grangemouth Chemical Plant To Close

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Financial Times & BBC News

Ineos says petrochemical plant will close.  Its chairman singles out energy costs, which he says has been driven up by high environmental taxes on consumers.

The petrochemical plant at the giant Grangemouth complex in central Scotland is to close.

Ineos made the announcement following a meeting with the workforce at the plant and its associated oil refinery.

The facility has been shut for a week due to an ongoing dispute between Ineos and the Unite union.

The company has said the refinery, which provides most of the fuel to Scotland, the north of England and Northern Ireland, will remain open.

About 800 people are employed at the petrochemical plant, with more employed as sub-contractors. Workers leaving the staff meeting, which lasted about 20 minutes, told the BBC the decision was “shocking”.

Ineos chairman and founder Jim Ratcliffe had said at the weekend if the petrochemical plant closed it was likely the refinery would go too.

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Warning: Ineos considers shutting Scottish plant

Ineos, the chemicals group, is considering shutting down its plant in Grangemouth, Scotland, due to rising costs and the decline in production of gas from the North Sea. Its chairman singles out energy costs, which he says has been driven up by high environmental taxes on consumers.

In a rare interview, chairman Jim Ratcliffe told the Financial Times that Grangemouth was “at a crossroads”.

“To have a future, it needs cheap feedstocks . . . and a sensible cost structure,” he said. “If we can’t resolve those issues, it would need to shut down.”

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Energy costs widen gap in competitiveness

Jim Ratcliffe, chief executive of Ineos, one of the world’s largest chemicals groups, says the danger is that some companies, especially manufacturers, will move to places where energy is cheaper. “It’s fine being very, very green, but not if you’re interested in manufacturing,” he says. “The UK is already disadvantaged on the wholesale cost of energy, and then it puts taxes on it. Anybody who’s an energy user is just going to disappear.” — Financial Times 14 October 2013