Scottish MPs are being urged to vote to support a bid to keep the country's only oil refinery open when its future is raised in the Commons today. 

The facility at Grangemouth, near Falkirk, is to cease operations as soon as 2025 under plans announced by its owner, Petroineos, a joint venture between the Chinese state-owned oil firm and the petrochemicals empire owned by Monaco-based British billionaire Sir James Ratcliffe.

Amid warnings that the plan “blows a hole” in Scotland’s industrial base, trade unions and politicians have raised concerns about the job security of the more than 500 people directly employed at the site and the impact of closing Scotland's only refinery on fuel supplies.

Petroineos, which has discussed its plans with the UK and Scottish governments, said it had had no choice but to adapt to global pressures affecting the refining market.

The Alba Party have put down an amendment to the Offshore Petroleum Licensing Bill, currently going through the Commons, which guarantees annual oil and gas licensing rounds.

The UK Government argues the legislation is aimed at helping to strengthen the UK's energy security and safeguard energy supplies by increasing investor and industry confidence.

Ministers also maintain the bill seeks to protect the domestic oil and gas industry that supports more than 200,000 jobs and realise the UK's net zero target in a pragmatic way.

However, critics claim it shows Conservative ministers are "not serious" about tackling climate change.

The amendment tabled by Alba Westminster Leader Neale Hanvey MP and Kenny MacAskill MP highlights the importance of Grangemouth oil refinery and the need to continue oil exploration in the North Sea.

It calls on all Scottish MPs to back the amendment so as to:
• support the offshore oil and gas sector, provided that each new licence has a net zero commitment to be achieved through connection to the Carbon Capture network; and
• support a secure and sustainable future for Grangemouth oil refinery by aligning oil production with a requirement that at least 30% of all new licences are aligned to oil production at Grangemouth, thereby helping to increase profitability and ensure a viable future beyond 2025.

Mr Hanvey said: "Carbon capture can be at the heart of an energy revolution for Scotland but it requires political will and investment to make it happen.  

"Support for this amendment would bring Scotland a step closer to achieving important environment ambitions.

"This change to the legislation would require a net zero carbon footprint to be a license condition for continued oil exploration and would do so by making it a specific field commitment. This net zero carbon footprint would be achieved mainly through connection to the Carbon Capture network. 

“The prize is for Scotland to be a world leader in research and development, with an economy built on energy and renewable energy of which Scotland has an abundance, including connecting the Mossmorran plant in Fife directly to Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage in St Fergus as part of the Acorn project.

“The UK Government’s dither and delay over an Acorn announcement has gone on long enough.  It is time for Scots Tory MPs to back a secure future for the workers in the North Sea oil and gas sector and to back this amendment.”

Mr MacAskill, who has led the campaign to keep the oil refinery at Grangemouth open and is the only MP to have secured a debate on the issue, said: “Our amendment is a direct challenge to every Scottish MP to support a viable future for the oil refinery at Grangemouth. 

"All Scottish MPs should unite to deliver energy security for the nation and maintain a thriving Scottish industrial base. This strategic national asset and its highly skilled workforce must be safeguarded beyond 2025 and well into the future.

“The key to that sustainable future is to align North Sea oil production with the refining of Scotland’s natural resource at Grangemouth which is Scotland’s oil refinery.  This can be achieved, as this amendment would do, by mandating a percentage, but not less than 30%, of all new seaward area production application licences, and for these to specifically align petroleum extraction with the refining of petroleum at the Grangemouth oil refinery.

“It is not enough for Scottish Labour to talk about ‘Scotland’s Future’ they need to act to defend the Grangemouth oil refinery from closure.  SNP MPs need to get off the fence and to back the campaign to save Grangemouth oil refinery.  They can start by supporting this amendment."

The amendment is being put down as the bill is debated at in the Commons chamber by a Committee of the Whole House.

The refinery at Grangemouth, one of only six remaining in the UK, has been operating since 1919 and was one of the first to transform crude oil in the UK.

It produces a range of fuels including petrol, diesel, kerosene, LPG and jet fuel.

The 1,700-acre site is estimated to supply 70% of the fuel to Scotland's filling stations as well Northern Ireland and the north of England.

It is also the primary supplier of aviation fuel for Scotland’s main airports, and a major supplier of petrol and diesel ground fuels across the central belt.

It will not be known until this morning if the amendment will be selected for debate.

However, it is expected that either Mr Hanvey or Mr MacAskill will speak in the debate and MPs are able to sign the amendment today prior to the bill being discussed.

Scottish Conservative MP David Duguid said:  "The Scottish CCS Cluster and the Grangemouth refinery already have strong advocates in the UK Parliament – in myself and other Scottish Conservative MPs.

"This amendment – like so many from Alba, SNP and other opposition parties – is empty of any meaningful changes.

"Net zero considerations are already factored into licensing decisions. And the UK Government has already committed to carbon capture in Scotland, including over £40 million so far into the Scottish Cluster, while the SNP Scottish Government continue to renege on their £80 million promise to the project.

“It has not gone unnoticed that Alba, like the SNP, like nothing more than to talk down the Acorn CCS project at St Fergus, despite having been confirmed by the UK Government as one of four CCS sites to be operational across the UK by 2030.

"One sure-fire way to keep Grangemouth open, to maintain the skills and supply chains needed for CCS in Scotland is to support new oil and gas licences in the North Sea – which only the Conservative party are fully committed to do."

A Department for Energy Security and Net Zero spokesman has previously told The Herald: “We know this is a concerning time for workers and their families, and are working closely with Grangemouth refinery on the long-term future of the site and how they are supporting staff.

“The UK Government will always back the North Sea oil and gas sector and green industries, such as offshore wind and carbon capture and storage, to protect our energy security, attract investment and create opportunities for communities in Scotland and across the UK.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “The Scottish Government was made aware in November 2023 of Petroineos’ decision to commence preparatory work on new import infrastructure at Finnart and Grangemouth, on the same day as the workforce.

“The Scottish Government engages regularly with industry, including Petroineos, to discuss a wide range of potential future scenarios. We continue to work with Petroineos, trade unions, industry and the UK Government to secure a sustainable future for Grangemouth and its workforce that reflects our ambitions for decarbonisation and a just transition for Scotland’s industrial sector.”

The SNP, Scottish Labour and Scottish Lib Dems were asked to comment.