Wednesday 16 May 2012: Economic Powerhouse
I was visiting potential projects today as part of a programme for the Inner Forth Estuary. One of our stops was on the south shore of the river near Kinneil to see, amongst other things, the extensive mudflats which are a recognised important bird habitat.
However, what interested me more was the sheer scale of the neighbouring complex at Grangemouth. As a small child growing up in Kincardine-On-Forth, I recall watching the flares and plumes of the refinery at night and finding it somehow eery.
It is the only oil refinery in Scotland, and takes the crude oil output from the North Sea fields, currently handling some 10 million tonnes of crude each year. Some of the refined product is piped to Hound Point just downstream of the Forth Bridge and some to the deep water terminal at Finnart on Loch Long. North Sea oil is such a critical part of the Scottish economic equation that the importance of Grangemouth cannot be overstated.