Petrochemical specialist INEOS has bought Fortum's Grangemouth-based combined heat and power plant (CHP) for £54 million, in a deal the buyer described as very positive and said underpins its long-term commitment to the site.

Additionally both companies described the transaction, which adds to INEOS' £300 million ethane infrastructure project at the Grangemouth power plant, as mutually beneficial.

It comes after INEOS announced in October last year that the site was to be closed down, leading to about 800 job losses.

However the controversial decision was reversed after UK ministers guaranteed a £230m loan to help safeguard its future.

The company says it is investing to import and store ethane.

It describes it as an "essential" raw material for the petrochemical plant, from the US.

INEOS communications manager Richard Longden said work at the ethane terminal is progressing well, and he described the CHP sale as "very good news," helping to secure the competitiveness of the plant as well as benefiting Grangemouth.

Additionally, both Mr Longden and Finnish-headquartered Fortum highlighted that selling the natural gas-fired CHP, which was commissioned in 2001 and is capable of generating 145 megawatts (MW) of power and 257 MW of heat, also ties in with the seller's strategy.

It is a non-core part of its operations and Fortum, which in the UK focuses on operation and maintenance services, is looking to focus on hydro and nuclear energy instead.

Mr Longden stressed that the transition in ownership will be smooth, and Fortum will continue to provide operation and maintenance services at the site.

Sasu Valkamo, vice president of Fortum's nuclear and thermal power division, described the CHP as "highly efficient and modern," and noted the long-term plans for the site by INEOS, which said "competitive, efficient energy" is crucial to secure the Grangemouth site's future in the long run.

John McNally, chief executive of INEOS Olefins & Polymers UK at Grangemouth, said its investments there "demonstrate what is possible at Grangemouth and represent another key milestone in creating a successful future for the site and those businesses that depend upon its continued presence in Scotland".

In August INEOS bought a 51 per cent share in an onshore oil and gas licence for the area around its Grangemouth complex, and said it feels "well-placed to become a major player in the UK onshore gas production sector"