PetroIneos Seeking UK Government Loan?
Package could be worth up to £500 million
Petrochemical refinery operator PetroIneos, owned by Ineos chairman Jim Ratcliffe‘s Jersey-based Ineos Investments and London-based PetroChina International, a subsidiary of the Chinese state owned chemicals group, has reportedly asked the UK government for an emergency loan amid a slump in oil demand triggered by the coronavirus crisis.
Quoting “industry sources,” Britain’s Sky News said it has learned that Petroineos has been in talks “for weeks” with the Scottish and UK governments about a loan package worth “hundreds of millions of pounds.”
Sky’s sources said the refinery located at Falkirk, near the Ineos complex at Grangemouth, Scotland, may be seeking as much as £500 million in state support, although a formal request could ultimately be for a substantially smaller sum, and the structure could also vary from a conventional commercial loan.
Ineos moved its headquarters from the UK to Switzerland in 2010 after the UK government denied the company the financial support and tax breaks it wanted during the financial crisis of 2008-2010. Later that year, it sold a 49.9% stake in the perennially loss making Scottish refinery to PetroChina.
Ratcliffe reportedly retained a residence in the UK as well as Switzerland, but relocated his tax headquarters to Monaco in 2018, along with other of Ineos’ leading shareholders.
Bilfinger UK may cut service jobs at Ineos and BP
Energy service provider Bilfinger UK meanwhile has told 170 contract workers at the Ineos-owned Forties Pipeline System (FPS) at Grangemouth and the BP-owned Mossmorran chemical plant in Fife they are at risk of losing their jobs when the UK’s coronavirus furlough scheme ends in June, due to the cancelation of work across the “vast majority” of sites it supports.
Ineos has postponed maintenance on the pipeline from mid-2020 to the first quarter of 2021, due to the virus outbreak.
The subsidiary of the Germany-headquartered Bilfinger industrial services group announced a multi-million pound maintenance services deal with Ineos at its Grangemouth and Kinneil sites in August 2019 and doubled its workforce in the region from 110 to 220.
Bilfinger also has an offshore operations business in Aberdeen, Scotland, where it recently announced that the jobs of some 500 currently furloughed workers were also endangered.