1,600 BP jobs in peril amid Grangemouth closure fears

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Fears are growing that BP is planning to close down its massive Grangemouth oil and chemicals refinery in Scotland – a move that would cost up to 1,600 jobs and make the UK a net importer of petrol for the first time in history.

The concerns, which are privately shared by many oil industry experts, have now been expressed publicly by Michael Connarty, MP for Falkirk East where the Grangemouth site is based.

In a recent Commons question Mr Connarty referred to the strong industry rumour of an impending UK refinery closure and demanded a fight to ensure the future of Grangemouth. He is now planning to confront top levels of BP management over the issue.

The closure rumours have centred on Grangemouth because of its recent history of underperformance. Grange- mouth management has already begun restructuring including axing 1,000 jobs and other cost-cutting measures so as to meet certain targets. After the cuts, the refinery still employs around 1,600 people.

Although BP management at Grangemouth is determined to press on with efforts to return to profitability, the decision to close the site may have already been made. As an industry source explained: "BP's chief executive, Lord Browne, does not put up with failed parts of the business and expects high returns. He must know that Grangemouth will miss any targets set, and the next logical step must be to close it down."