Versalis to close UK Grangemouth chemicals plant

  • Market: Petrochemicals
  • 15/12/23

Italy's Versalis is permanently shutting down a chemicals plant at its Grangemouth site in the UK because of a slump in the market for elastomers.

Versalis, owned by Italian energy group Eni, said it reached a decision following a "thorough and open analysis of the different alternatives and proposals" during a consultation involving employees and their trade unions representatives led by GMB and Unite.

"Due to worsening conditions of the elastomers market, declining sales, increasing costs and negative outlook, the company has arrived at the final decision to close the Grangemouth plant," Versalis said. The closure process will begin in the coming months and the the company expects it to be completed in April 2024. The redundancies of the affected employees will be carried out on a "phased basis," the company said.

The GMB said about 135 jobs are at risk.

"We will be continuing our discussions with the company and working tirelessly to ensure those workers losing their jobs receive the best terms possible," said GMB Scotland organiser Dom Pritchard.

The Grangemouth site has the capacity to produce 105,000 t/yr of polybutadiene and 70,000 t/yr of solution styrene butadiene rubber. These products are widely used in the manufacture of tyres and other industrial rubbers. Earlier this year Versalis announced upgrades to its Ravenna, Italy complex.

The plant's closure is a further blow for the area, with Petroineos having said it plans to close its 150,000 b/d Grangemouth refinery. The company — a joint venture between PetroChina and UK-based Ineos — said it will soon begin work to transform the site into a fuels import terminal, a process it expects to take 18 months to complete.

Petroineos said it is evaluating the feasibility of building a bio-refinery on the Grangemouth site. Ineos said the closure of the refinery will not have a significant impact on its petrochemical operations at Grangemouth.


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