The operator of Grangemouth refinery in Scotland has been promised a £230 million loan guarantee from the UK Treasury to import US shale gas.
International owner Ineos said the guarantee will help it raise money for building a new gas terminal to import and store ethane.
It means by 2016 the UK business – which includes a petrochemicals factory alongside the refinery and was haemorrhaging money last year – could be mostly processing shale gas.
Jim Ratcliffe, Ineos Chairman said: “Without doubt, this is one of the most important projects of recent times in Scotland, with implications to be felt right across the UK, not only for employment but also for manufacturing in general.
“Our ability to import US shale gas underpins the future of manufacturing at Grangemouth and across many businesses in Scotland. It is a vital step towards preserving the long term future of the Grangemouth site and those businesses that depend upon its continued presence in Scotland.”
Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander MP said: “Over £1bn of infrastructure projects have now been brought forward as a result of the UK guarantees scheme and £36bn worth of projects are pre-qualified… The Grangemouth guarantee is fantastic news for Scotland’s economic future and for the UK’s energy security.”