A petro-chemical giant admitted this week thousands of jobs will go if it fails to operate under strict new regulations.
A week after it was revealed Grangemouth-based Ineos had made a £100 million loss over its most recent trading year, CEO Gordon Grant gave members of its Community Liaison Group some hard facts about the future.
He said if Ineos could not afford to operate to the standard of the European emission trading directives demand and was forced to close, 1400 staff would lose their jobs and a further 5000 people with jobs associated to the site would also be out of work.
Monday night’s meeting was dominated by issues surrounding the directives which come into effect in 2016.
Mr Grant said: “It’s going to have a huge impact on the UK industry, not just Ineos.
‘‘The things that will determine the future of refineries in general are age and size. We are a mid-sized refinery so we are well positioned in that respect and we have been spending a lot on refurbishment.”
Two sulphur dioxide recovery units, which aim to recover 99.5 per cent of the SO2 the plant produces, are currently under construction at a total cost of £30 million.
“We will see no profit from that,” said Mr Grant. “That £30 million is being spent purely to make environmental improvements. We have to ensure shareholders see we are looking at our costs in refining, distribution and commercial and trying to do our best in each one of these elements.
“It’s tough but we will be looking at everything we can to minimise costs and maximise our finances.”
Mr Grant told members Ineos currently spends £70 million a year to comply with existing regulations - the new directives would see the firm spending a further £70 million per year for the next four years.
Ineos would also have to undergo unscheduled plant shutdowns, at a cost of £10 million a time, to carry out some of the improvement work.
Mr Grant added the company would be ideally looking to spread the cost of the improvements over the next 12 years rather than the next four.
Stevie Deans, of union Unite, said: “Gordon won’t say it, but I will - India and China are polluting the world with impunity while Ineos run one of the UK’s most tightly regulated, most efficient, safest plants.”