The boss of Grangemouth’s Ineos plant has informed staff their jobs are safe for the next 15 years.
In an internal communication John McNally, Ineos chief executive for Olefins and Polymers UK, said the Grangemouth site is safe until 2030, but “not guaranteed” beyond that time.
His message was in direct response to Ineos Upstream chief executive Gary Haywood’s comments last week that the plant was unlikely to have a future without fracking - a statement which started alarm bells ringing for staff and representatives of union Unite.
In his message, Mr McNally stated: “You may have seen some coverage over the last couple of days in the press relating to onshore shale gas exploration and potential impacts on Grangemouth.
“I think a number of things have been taken out of context. The reality is that we have at least 15 years of assured gas supply from the US starting in 2016, which assures the future of the business in the medium to long term.
“Predicting what happens after that is, of course, more difficult.”
Last week Mr Haywood said the ethane gas shipments from the US were unlikely to have a long-term future and that the development of an indigenous source was required.
This led to Unite Scottish secretary Pat Rafferty responding: “Mr Haywood’s comments are completely contrary to the demands of the survival plan imposed by the company just over a year ago.”
Earlier this month the Scottish Government imposed a ban on all future fracking developments in Scotland until further studies and consultations were carried out.
Union bosses said Mr Haywood’s comments about a bleak future for the Grangemouth site could be seen as a way to try and influence the government to consider lifting the ban.