Scotland Fights to Keep Energy Lifeline

GRANGEMOUTH, Scotland — The vast petrochemical complex at Grangemouth is a constellation of lights and glowing plumes of steam west of Edinburgh that has become a shimmering symbol of Scotland at an economic and political crossroads.

In mid-October, some of those lights went dark when James A. Ratcliffe, the chairman of Ineos, a Swiss multinational giant that owns much of the Grangemouth operation, ordered it shut down. Mr. Ratcliffe, during labor negotiations, was trying to shock the work force into “accepting changes to bring the site into the modern world,” he said in a recent interview.

After the union quickly backed down and accepted some of the pay and pension changes sought by Mr. Ratcliffe, the plant reopened. But the episode made clear the vulnerability of Grangemouth as the capital of the Scottish petrochemical industry. Although that industry vies with whisky as the biggest contributor to the country’s export economy, it is under pressure from global forces that now make other parts of the world better bets for the refining of petroleum into fuels and the processing of its byproducts into plastics and chemicals.

via Scotland Fights to Keep Energy Lifeline –

Categories: Energy, Transportation