Grangemouth to handle shale gas

Daily Echo: Jim Ratcliffe Jim Ratcliffe

THE site at the centre of a bitter industrial relations dispute is set to be the first chemical plant in the country to receive shale gas from the United States.

Ineos, whose chairman is Hampshire millionaire Jim Ratcliffe said it had selected the location for a new ethane tank it plans to build at Grangemouth in Scotland, with imports beginning as early as 2016 after a £150m investment to an import terminal project.

The move will supplement declining North Sea supplies, said Ineos, which threatened to close the petrochemical site in October after a dispute with the Unite union.

The company decided to keep the site open after workers accepted changes to pay, pensions and terms and conditions.

Ineos said the announcements were part of its survival plan detailed to staff in October, adding that Grangemouth has lost around £150m a year over the last three years.

The company has submitted applications to the Scottish Government for a grant of £9m and a loan guarantee of £125m.

Unite has warned that up to 200 workers at Grangemouth are set to lose their jobs under cost-cutting moves.

The union said five plants at the huge site will close, while shift payments will be cut by £2,500 a year and new employees will receive lower wages.

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