Grangemouth oil refinery
A visit to the Grangemouth oil refinery, with Helen Stewart of the chemical and oil company INEOS. A visit to Hillhead Primary School building site in Glasgow, with architects Craig Tait and Ian Alexander. A visit to the Caledonian Forest at Glen Moriston, with Alan Watson Featherstone of Trees for Life.
Located in the Falkirk council area, Grangemouth is Scotland's only oil refinery. It was originally set up in 1924 by Scottish Oils, a company founded by the merger of several local shale oil producers. Scottish Oils was owned by the Anglo-Persian Oil Company and the plant was created to process crude oil shipped in from the Persian Gulf.
The site was chosen through a combination of its proximity to Grangemouth Docks and the ready availability of cheap, flat land. In 1954 the refinery was connected to the Finnart Ocean terminal at Loch Long by a 58-mile pipeline, to allow the import of crude oil using larger oil tankers. A second pipeline was later introduced to return finished, refined products to Finnart for export. The discovery of North Sea Oil in the 1970s brought the connection of the refinery to the Forties pipeline system. Up until World War II, the refinery was able to process around 400,000 tonnes of crude oil annually. From 1949 the site underwent a series of expansions, increasing its capacity to nearly 9 million tonnes per year. As well as producing fuel for vehicles, aircraft and domestic heating, the Grangemouth site also produces a range of plastics and other products.
Falkirk is one of Scotland’s 32 unitary council areas. It borders North Lanarkshire to the south west, Stirling to the north west, West Lothian to the south east and the Firth of Forth to the north east.
The council area was formed in 1996 with the exact boundaries of Falkirk District Prior to 1975 the majority of the council area was part of the county of Stirlingshire and a small part, Bo'ness and Blackness, was part of the former county of West Lothian.