THE future of the Scotland’s biggest industrial site at Grangemouth is hanging in the balance.
Politicians, unions and business leaders have declared the demise of its threatened petrochemical plant would be unthinkable for Scotland’s economic well-being and insist it must be saved.
A number of options have emerged as the plant teeters on the brink. The prospect of an outside owner is among the options touted, with Alex Salmond and John Swinney both insisting that there are interested parties out there and the Scottish Government has been speaking with them.
But the substantial losses which Grangemouth faces – claimed to be in the region of £10 million a month by owner Ineos – are likely to prove a major barrier to any new owner.
This has prompted speculation that the Scottish Government may even nationalise the plant after the First Minister declared this week that it could not be allowed to fail.
But the best hope of a future for the plant has always rested with Ineos which had mapped out a survival plan which included £300m of investment in vital upgrades.
That option appeared to have been scuppered this week when it was rejected by most of the vital blue-collar technical staff at the plant, prompting the management to announce its shock closure.
The hope now is that this option can be revived.
Whoever ends up in charge, the plant will certainly require massive investment to upgrade its facilities to capitalise on the lucrative shale gas boom in the US to survive, as North Sea supplies dwindle.
Here, The Scotsman puts the outlook for these options under the spotlight.
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