* Majority of union workers rejected company offer
* Scottish government says has talked to potential buyers
(Releads with Scottish government looking for buyer, adds
LONDON Oct 22 The Scottish government has been
talking to potential buyers for the troubled Grangemouth
refinery and petrochemical plant in Scotland, further raising
the stakes in a bitter dispute between owner Ineos and the
workforce that may see the plant close.
"In view of the clear danger of a stalemate developing
between the owners and the union, the Scottish Government has
been actively pursuing alternative options," John Swinney,
Scotland's finance secretary said in a statement.
Industry observers said suitable buyers for the refinery
were likely to emerge were it to go on the market.
"It's a sound asset that's got a lot going for it. It serves
the whole of Scotland, Northern Ireland and much of Northern
England and it has the crude supply stream from the North Sea on
its doorstep," said Stephen George, analyst at KBC.
The move comes as fears grow about the future of the plant
that employs around 1,400 people. Operator Ineos will tell
workers at 0900 GMT on Wednesday if the Grangemouth oil refinery
in Scotland will close down permanently, it said in a statement.
The Swiss-based company said it was presenting a decision to
shareholders in the plant on Tuesday. The 210,000 barrels per
day refinery has been shut for about a week due to a bitter
The refinery moved closer to permanent closure after a clear
majority of union workers on Monday rejected a pensions and
"Ineos is now considering the numbers of employees that have
given their support to its survival plan," the company said.
"Results will be presented to a meeting of its shareholders.
The company will first communicate the shareholders views to the
workforce directly on Wednesday."
The union said it wanted a negotiated settlement, rather
than one that was imposed on workers.
Chinese oil giant PetroChina owns half of the
refinery, which Ineos operates. Ineos owns completely
the attached petrochemical plant.
Grangemouth also powers BP's Kinneil terminal, which
processes North Sea crude coming ashore via the Forties Pipeline
System, a grade which helps set the benchmark for global oil
The refinery could be the latest casualty of competition
from the newest generation of major refineries in Asia and the
Middle East, and falling demand for gasoline in Europe.
If it closes Grangemouth could be the second UK refinery to
shut down in the space of two years following the demise of the
Coryton plant east of London in 2012.
(Reporting by Simon Falush; editing by William Hardy and Keiron