SNP ministers are set to complete a long-promised just transition plan for Grangemouth by the end of the year after being accused of having “sat on their hands” amid the closure of Scotland’s only remaining oil refinery.

Petroineos, the owners of the Grangemouth site, announced the oil refinery is to cease operations in the spring of 2025, when the plant will become a fuel import terminal.

The Scottish Government said it hopes to extend the potential life of the facility in a joint campaign with the UK Government, but it is feared up to 400 jobs could be at risk.

In the 2022/23 programme for government, then-first minister Nicola Sturgeon pledged to “deliver” a just transition plan for Grangemouth in the coming 12 months.

But the crucial document is yet to materialise.

Read more: SNP hopes to 'extend the potential life' of Grangemouth oil refinery

SNP ministers have committed to a just transition, which ensures jobs in certain industries such as oil and gas and fossil fuels positions at Grangemouth can move into green jobs such as the renewables and hydrogen sectors. 

The Scottish Government’s draft energy strategy and just transition plan, which has now been delayed until next summer, points to the importance of a just transition for Grangemouth.

The strategy stresses that “Grangemouth is ideally placed to produce future products in a net zero economy”.

The Herald: Grangemouth / Getty Images

It adds: “There is significant potential for carbon-intensive industrial clusters, such as Grangemouth and Mossmorran, to unlock deeper decarbonisation across Scotland.

"In particular, Grangemouth’s wealth of investment, infrastructure, skills, knowledge and productivity has strong potential for supporting a net zero economy.

“Given the critical role of Grangemouth, both for our economy and our climate change targets, it is our ambition to see the site remain not only a key manufacturing base for the future, but also one that is significantly decarbonised, supporting further carbon reduction across Scotland.”

It is understood that the just transition plan for Grangemouth will be finalised by the end of the year, and will include “baseline mapping” of the state of the cluster as it stands today, as well as a “future vision” for 2045.

A draft plan is then set to be published for a consultation in the spring of 2024.

Read more: Sir Jim Ratcliffe's stricken Scots refinery incurred £360m in losses

Representatives from Inoes and PetroIneos have taken place in workshops and interviews to help form the baseline exercise and the 2045 vision for the hub.

But the Scottish Government has been criticised for not bringing forward the just transition plan for Grangemouth sooner, given the commitment in the 2022/23 programme for government.

Scottish Labour net zero spokesperson, Sarah Boyack, said: “Sixteen years of industrial failure and inaction greens jobs is starting to catch up with the SNP.

“Hundreds of jobs are at risk at Grangemouth, and if Scotland’s two governments don’t act now to deliver a just transition many more will follow.

“Workers are still waiting to see the SNP’s promised just transition plan for the Grangemouth industrial sector.

Read more: Scotland's £25bn green hydrogen strategy to power German industry

“The SNP-Green Government must stop sitting on its hands and start working to support industries moving away from fossil fuels.

“Labour’s clean energy mission will protect jobs and utilise the skills and expertise of the oil and gas workforce to make Scotland a clean energy superpower.”

Scottish Conservative shadow net zero, energy and transport secretary, Douglas Lumsden, said: “Part of the SNP’s delayed just transition plan was a promise to develop a plan for Grangemouth.

The Herald: Scottish Tory MSP Douglas LumsdenScottish Tory MSP Douglas Lumsden

“But they sat on their hands and put off its publication – with no justification for the delay.

“Now that we’ve had the announcement that the refinery is due to close, it’s clear that the SNP-Green government’s dithering and constant undermining of the oil and gas industry has dealt a hammer blow to Grangemouth and the whole of Scotland’s economy.”

SNP External Affairs Secretary, Angus Robertson, held talks with senior managers of Petrochina in Beijing yesterday.

SNP Energy Secretary Neil Gray said: “Grangemouth remains an important asset in Scotland’s energy future and as such, we have committed to publishing a just transition plan for Grangemouth in the spring.

“Work on this is well underway and we’ve engaged with business, the local community and wider stakeholders and will continue to do so over the coming weeks and months.”