FOR nearly a century, the Grangemouth refinery has stood as an iconic symbol of Scotland’s industrial might, with flames, steam, and smoke billowing into the air since its establishment in 1924. This facility has been more than a source of energy; it has been a cornerstone of the local community, providing jobs to generations and contributing significantly to the Scottish economy.
However, as the global movement toward a net-zero future gains momentum, the future of Petroineos’ plant at Grangemouth has become increasingly uncertain. The refinery, which has powered Scotland for decades, faces a pivotal moment as governments worldwide emphasise energy diversification and sustainability.
The shockwave reverberated through the local community as Petroineos announced on Wednesday that operations at Grangemouth, Scotland’s sole oil refinery, are set to cease in 2025. The facility will undergo a transformation into a fuel import terminal, marking a significant departure from its historical role.
Generations of families from Falkirk and beyond have worked at the Grangemouth refinery since its construction in the 1920s. The announcement, delivered to employees via email on Tuesday, revealed the potential cessation of operations by 2025. Petroineos attributes this decision to the anticipation of unsustainable losses and outlines plans to repurpose the site as a fuel import and distribution terminal.
Amidst these changes, the Just Transition Commission in Scotland issued a statement expressing deep concerns about the lack of engagement with workers, the community, and government ministers. The Commission emphasises the importance of understanding the plans to support impacted workers beyond redundancies and calls for measures to prevent the off-shoring of emissions associated with the Grangemouth site.
The Commission urges Petroineos, the UK Government, and the Scottish Government to engage fully and transparently with workers and the community.
They said, “we urgently need to understand what plans, if any, have been made to support a transition for workers impacted by these changes beyond redundancies, as well as what steps will be taken to ensure we are not effectively off-shoring emissions currently associated with the Grangemouth site. The announcement underlines clearly the need for the government to play an active role in safeguarding workers and communities through the transition, since the market alone will not deliver a just transition.”
As Grangemouth faces the prospect of transformation, it reflects the broader challenges posed by the energy transition and the necessity for strategic planning to ensure a fair and sustainable shift. While the refinery’s legacy is undeniable, its closure signals a new chapter in Scotland’s journey toward a more diversified, sustainable energy future. The fate of Grangemouth becomes a litmus test for the effectiveness of just transition planning and the commitment to supporting communities in the face of industrial change.