Forties Pipeline Sale ‘Bad for Scotland and UK’, Unite Says

UK’s largest union, Unite, has called for the Scottish and Westminster parliaments to carry out urgent inquiries into the sale of the Forties Pipeline System (FPS) from BP to Ineos. 

BP confirmed on Monday the sale of FPS assets including the main Forties offshore and onshore pipelines and other associated pipeline interests and facilities to Ineos for a consideration of up to $250 million.

The FPS carries liquids production from some 85 fields in the Central and Northern North Sea and several Norwegian fields on behalf of around 40 companies. The system has a capacity of 575,000 barrels of oil a day.

BP employs around 300 staff to operate and support the FPS which are expected to transition to Ineos, and Unite says it has serious concerns about the safety of their jobs, pensions, terms and conditions under Ineos.

Unite was involved in two major disputes with Ineos over the treatment of workers at the Grangemouth refinery in 2008 and 2013. During the second dispute, the company – owned by billionaire tax-avoider Jim Ratcliffe – threatened to close the facility forever, Unite said.

Unite Scottish secretary Pat Rafferty said: “It’s not so long ago that both Grangemouth and the Forties pipeline were owned by all of us, and operated by a nationalized British Petroleum with a responsibility to look at what was good for the country as a whole, not just what was good for a small group of wealthy individuals.

“Both these parts of vital national infrastructure – which are central to the success of the Scottish and wider UK economy are now essentially in the hands of one man.

“Unite firmly believes that this sale is bad for Scotland and the UK. We demand that both the Scottish and Westminster parliament carry out inquiries, and that every MSP and MP in Scotland has a responsibility to make their position clear. Do they believe this sale is in the national interest?”

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