Petrochemical giant Ineos has secured a £230 million loan guarantee from the UK Government to help progress the survival plan at its Grangemouth site.
The loan guarantee was agreed last year as part of a deal to end an industrial dispute with union Unite.
Ineos chairman Jim Ratcliffe said: “Without doubt, this is one of the most important infrastructure projects of recent times in Scotland, with implications to be felt right across the UK, not only for employment but also for manufacturing in general.
“Our ability to import US shale gas underpins the future of manufacturing at Grangemouth and across many businesses in Scotland. It is a vital step towards preserving the long term future of the Grangemouth site and those businesses that depend upon its continued presence in Scotland.”
The ethane tank will be the largest in Europe and is central to the company’s well publicised plans to import shale gas from the USA. It is hoped the Grangemouth site will be a shale gas-based facility by 2016.
Falkirk Council approved a planning application for the ethane storage facility in May and Ineos subsequently agreed contract terms with Germany-based TGE Gas Engineering to construct it.
Local politicians welcomed the announcement.
Falkirk East MSP Angus MacDonald: “This will hopefully help retain the plant in Grangemouth for decades to come, with the knock-on benefit to local industry and the Scottish economy.”
East Falkirk MP Michael Connarty: “I see Ineos being here just as long as it remains profitable for them to be honest, but it is a substantial loan from the UK Government which followed through on its commitment.”
Falkirk MP Eric Joyce: “For the first time in years, a secure future exists for over 1000 people at Grangemouth and around 3000 in the supply chain.”