13 November 2001 11:39 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (CNI)--BP is to close an old polyethyelene (PE) production unit and cut up to 1000 jobs at its Grangemouth, Scotland refining and petrochemicals complex under a radical reorganisation plan aimed at improving profitability.
Around 2500 people are employed by BP at Grangemouth and the 40% reduction in jobs will be implemented over the next two years.
BP said the decision follows a 10-week review of the site's organisation, asset structure and, in particular, its financial performance. It said Grangemouth has been hit severely by the economic downturn, unprecedentedly depressed chemicals markets and a series of operational problems.
The reorganisation will streamline Grangemouth's three main businesses - refining, petrochemicals and the North Sea Forties field pipeline terminal - into a single organisation designed to simplify site operations while increasing reliability and efficiency.
In addition to closure of the 145 000 tonne/year Rigidex 2 high density polyethylene (hdPE) plant, BP will shut the oldest and smallest of the refinery's three crude distillation units.
Colin Maclean, director of the complex, said the reorganisation was necessary to safeguard Grangemouth's future in an increasingly competitive global marketplace.
BP said consultations were already underway with employees, unions and other representatives to ensure people were aware of their status by early next year. It pledged to make every effort to relocate people with appropriate skills to other BP locations, or to provide re-training, job-search assistance and severance packages.
The sheer scale of the job cuts, which are expected to concentrate on administrative and support staff rather than on production workers, underlines just how far behind its competitors BP believes the Grangemouth site has slipped.
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