Ineos pushes back Forties pipeline shutdown by a year because of coronavirus

Ineos, the industrial giant, is to postpone the shutting down of the crucial Forties pipeline system until next spring.

Ineos is the industrial giant that runs the vast petrochemical complex at Grangemouth in Scotland. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

The firm, which runs the vast petrochemical complex at Grangemouth, said the decision had been taken in the face of the ongoing restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic and “in the interests of providing clarity to its customers and the UK oil and gas industry”.

Ineos has written to all its customers saying that there will be a delay to the pipeline’s summer maintenance shutdown that was planned for 16 June. The shutdown will now be scheduled for spring 2021. The pipeline system is responsible for bringing onshore much of the production from the North Sea.

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Last month, Ineos said it was enacting a series of “social distancing” measures to protect staff amid the Covid-19 outbreak.

Chairman Sir Jim Ratcliffe said the firm’s immediate priorities were “to keep our people safe and to keep our plants and businesses running”.

Noting that the company was “a manufacturer of essential materials that are vital to life”, Ineos said that all office-based staff would work from home unless in exceptional circumstances. All employees are to maintain a “one-meter rule” within offices or plants and zero contact alongside the “rigorous use” of hand-gels and surface cleaning.

Meanwhile, the firm, which employs hundreds of people in Scotland, is to restrict visits to plants and offices, postpone non-essential work on plants and cancel group events.

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