AN expansion of Scotland’s largest industrial complex is set to be announced following an influx of fracking gas from America.
Hugh Carmichael, an Ineos director, told delegates at a Scottish Energy Association conference in Glasgow that his firm would “most probably” be revealing new development at the site with internal work on plans already taking place.
A ramping up of activities at Grangemouth would represent a remarkable turnaround for the facility, which includes a petrochemical plant, the country’s only oil refinery and accounts for four per cent of Scottish GDP.
Less than three years ago, Ineos said it would be closing its plant following a bitter industrial dispute in a move met with dismay at the highest levels of UK and Scottish Governments.
However, the company says regular deliveries of fracking gas from America on eight purpose built ships have handed Grangemouth, previously operating at half-capacity due to dwindling North Sea gas reserves, a lifeline. Ineos believes the plant will now make £100m a year due to the influx of shale gas, used as a feedstock for its petrochemical products.
The imports have been criticised by environmental groups and reignited the debate over whether fracking should be allowed in Scotland, with Nicola Sturgeon refusing to endorse the £1.5 billion Ineos project despite the company claiming it has saved 10,000 jobs directly and indirectly dependent on Grangemouth.
Mr Carmichael said: “The site was losing money and it’s [now] a site that will make money, we’ve already announced the expansion of a plant down in Hull because we’ve got cheap ethylene. We’re most probably going to announce an expansion of Grangemouth. It [shale gas] provides a long term, sustainable future for the site.
“If we can find it in the states, bring it over, secure a site, imagine what you could do if it was on your doorstep.”