Grangemouth refinery halts its production before Sunday strike

UK’S Grangemouth refinery began shutting down its fuel production yesterday ahead of a planned strike by staff this weekend.

Owner Ineos and the Unite union were in talks yesterday in a bid to stave off the 48-hour stoppage, set to begin on Sunday. Talks will resume today.

The dispute is over the alleged unfair treatment of plant worker and union official Stephen Deans, plus terms and conditions at the Scottish plant.

A Unite source said Grangemouth’s management had instructed staff to close the 210,000 barrels-per-day (bpd) refinery in a way that would lead to a “cold shutdown”.

Gareth Lewis-Davies, a BNP Paribas energy strategist, said if BP’s Kinneil oil processing terminal – which gets steam and power from Grangemouth – had to stop processing oil, it could lead to serious disruptions.

“If you can’t stabilise the oil, then you can’t create a stable crude ready for export,” he said.