By LANANH NGUYEN & LAURA HURST
LONDON (Bloomberg) -- Ineos Group Holdings is shutting the 210,000 bpd Grangemouth oil refinery and petrochemical site before a strike this weekend that could halt 45 % of the United Kingdoms crude production.
The company is progressively stopping units before a 48- hour industrial action planned by Unite union workers, scheduled to begin on October 20.
Were currently going through a safe shutdown of the site, Richard Longden, a spokesman for Ineos, said by phone from London. The units will be brought to a cold status by the time the strike action starts.
Grangemouth workers held a two-day strike in April 2008 that cut North Sea oil output and disrupted fuel supplies across Scotland. The site supplies power and steam to BP's neighboring Kinneil processing plant, which handles oil from the companys Forties Pipeline System gathered from more than 80 offshore fields. FPS is scheduled to load 387,000 bpd of crude in October, according to a shipping program obtained by Bloomberg news.
Union representatives and Ineos will meet for talks mediated by the United Kingdoms Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service after discussions ended without resolution, Unite said in a statement. The discussions are scheduled in Glasgow, Scotland, according to the United Kingdom Department of Energy and Climate Change.
Were in touch with Ineos to establish the possible impact of the shutdown, Robert Wine, a London-based spokesman for BP, said by phone. Operations at the Kinneil plant will depend on the outcome of negotiations between Ineos and the union, he said.
Forties output averaged 382,000 bpd this year, according to loading programs obtained by Bloomberg News. The United Kingdoms average crude production was 850,000 bpd this year, data from the International Energy Agency show. Forties is the most abundant of four crude grades that make up the Dated Brent benchmark used to price more than half the worlds crude. The others are Brent, Oseberg and Ekofisk.
We have been monitoring the situation very closely, Cameron Ramos, a spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change, said by phone from London. This isnt something that has come as a surprise.
The Grangemouth refinery is jointly owned by Ineos Group Holdings and PetroChina, while Ineos is the sole owner of the petrochemical site.