EXCLUSIVE by Scottish Energy News
INEOS – the UK-domiciled company that owns and operates the hydro-carbon refinery at Grangemouth – is to diversity into automotive manufacturing.
But Scotland will almost certainly miss out on the creation of hundreds of new high-value manufacturing jobs in the £100 million investment as INEOS will not set up the plant at Grangemouth – along with thousands more jobs that would have been created in a local automotive supply-chain.
Following the completion of a six-month feasibility study, INEOS has confirmed that it is to go ahead and build a brand new 4×4 off-roader. Whilst the company is one of the largest manufacturers in the world, it will be the first time that INEOS has produced such a vehicle.
The company is expecting to spend many hundreds of millions on the project and is determined that the vehicle will not only fill a gap in the market vacated by the Land Rover Defender but also provide a step-change improvement in build quality and reliability.
Identifying a suitable manufacturing location for the minimum-£100 million investment will be a part of the next phase of the project and the company will look at UK sites alongside other European options.
Although INEOS has acres of under-used space at its Grangemouth plant – certainly big enough to accommodate a vehicle production line – the Scottish Government’s fact-free ban on on-shore shale gas exploration around the plant will make this a non-starter.
INEOS is currently shipping two Titanic-scale super-tankers full of imported shale gas from the USA into Grangemouth every month because of dwindling supplies from the ageing North Sea basin and because it is unable to recover trillions of tonnes of shale gas in reserves it has exploration licences for as a result of the minority SNP-led Scot-govt. temporary moratorium on fracking.
Despite creating and/or maintaining more than 10,000 well-paid, skilled industrial jobs in Scotland, the Scottish Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse did not accept the INEOS invite to welcome the first of its Shale Supertankers into Scotland last year.
The automotive project is the brainchild of INEOS Chairman, Jim Ratcliffe – a fan of the original Land Rover Defender – who has identified a gap in the market for an ‘uncompromising off-roader’ that stands for adventure and active driving but also has the ability to be a work and utility machine.
He said: “The new INEOS 4×4 will not be a replica of the Defender but will reflect its philosophy. The target market is global and includes agriculture and forestry workers, explorers and adventurers as well as traditional Defender fans that simply enjoy an authentic 4×4 driving experience.”
Fibbing by Friends of Earth with false fracking claims will make Scot-Govt’s final public consultation on shale gas worthless
Here’s a bit of a brain-teaser for ‘deeply’ shale-energy sceptical Nicola Sturgeon, Scottish First Minister and the Scottish Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse:
If Mr Ford, Herr Porsche or Mr Shell (which already operates a hydro-carbon plant in Fife) were wondering if you would welcome an £-billion- investment in building a new car factory in Scotland, would you say ‘Yes’ to helping them?
Send your answer to: Editor@ScottishEnergyNews.com
(All readers are also welcome to send in their own answers: Scottish Energy News will publish a selection of these answers)
My answer would be a big YES. I am off an age where I have already had to weather a large part of another industry leaving Scotland. The Electronics sector.
When I went to University I studied Electrical & electronic engineering as there was loads of big electronics firms in the area, by the time I finished most of these had shut up and moved to cheaper countries.
This un-evidenced restriction on fracking is potentially stopping the creation of 1000s of jobs in Scotland at a time when there are lots of people out of work.
I am in recruitment and I get 100s of applicants for the vacancies I work and a large portion of these people could find work in either fracking OR a new car plant and the supply chain that would spring up around that.
Sometimes Nicola you need to look at the bigger picture and make decisions you don’t like personally for the good of the country.
I am an SNP supporter so I agree with most things the SNP stand for but sometimes they are wrong as well.
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