Scotland won’t run out of fuel even if its last oil refinery closes, the UK’s energy security minister has said.
Graham Stuart said Scots should be confident that security of supply remains even if Grangemouth owners Petroineos continue with plans to cease operations.
He stressed that “no final decision” had been made by the company on its plans for the future of the plant.
Petroineos wants to turn Grangemouth into an import terminal in 2025 which would see 400 out of 500 jobs at the plant lost.
The refinery is the main source of aviation fuel in Scotland and supplies 70% of the petrol and diesel across Scotland’s filling stations.
Speaking to STV News, the energy security minister urged the people of Scotland not to fear a lack of fuel if Grangemouth does close.
He said: “We are confident if they do decide to close the refinery and do decide to use it as a terminal that security of supply in Scotland will be maintained.
“With that import facility, with the combination of international refining and capacity, we are confident the UK will be safe from that respect.
“People do not need to fear that Scotland isn’t going to have the fuel it needs.”
He said industries such as Grangemouth continued to enjoy a bright future in Scotland.
He added: “There’s 450 staff there. If they cease to be a refinery I think they are looking at 70 or 100 being retained for an import facility.
“So we are talking about a small number of hundreds of jobs – very important to make sure those people and families are supported and we alongside the Scottish Government will do it.”
According to the Fraser of Allander Institute, the factory provides up to 0.3% of Scotland’s GDP.
The Scottish Government has said it wants to see it open “as long as possible”.
Energy secretary Neil Gray vowed the Scottish Government would support workers at the major industrial site in central Scotland, saying he recognised the “anxiety” and “despair” they may be feeling.
Concerns have been raised about the impact the closure could have on the town of Grangemouth.
Falkirk East MSP Michelle Thomson said the area “already struggles with high levels of social deprivation, and the ultimate closure potentially will be felt acutely in the town”.
A just transition plan will be published for Grangemouth in the spring, Gray said, adding that he had met trade unions.
The minister said the Scottish Government wanted to see the site continue operating as a source of domestic fuels for “years to come”.
He said: “I’ve been clear in the letter (to the UK Government) that it remains my firm preference that the refinery should continue operating for as long as possible.
“And we’ll continue to engage proactively with Petroineos as we develop our just transition plans for Grangemouth.”
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