In 1965, Educational Films of Scotland made fascinating film narrated by Scottish actor Moultrie Kelsall about the history of Grangemouth from 1750 to modern times (1965). Among the highlights of the film is the focus on the role of Grangemouth Town Council as a local, democratic enabler of economic development. In Kelsall’s words,
“I think that Grangemouth has been very well served by a succession of hard-working, and enterprising, forward looking Town Councils.”
Take the time to watch the film. Click on the image below or here.
Today, Grangemouth is in the news in relation to the future of the petrochemical plant and oil refinery. The plant operator, Ineos owns the petrochemical plant and is a co-owner of the oil refinery with PetroChina Company Limited.
To facilitate this investment with Petrochina, the Registers of Scotland, agreed to admit a voluntary registration of the land in the land register. As reported in the Law Society of Scotland’s journal, the Keeper of the Registers was keen to highlight how registration can enhance the confidence of an investor by providing a state-guaranteed title.
Grangemouth Oil Refinery
Deborah Lovell, a partner in Anderson Strathern LLP’s Commercial Real Estate team, commented on their voluntary registration of Grangemouth Refinery.
“The voluntary registration process was used recently on behalf of our client, INEOS, for their landholding comprising their oil refinery and petrochemicals facility at Grangemouth and terminal at Finnart, all held on the historic General Register of Sasines. The registration of the land was key to a number of strategic deals involving transfers of the landholding, the reorganisation of the client’s funding arrangements, and the involvement of a new foreign investor. The benefit of the voluntary registration for our clients included speed and certainty for all parties, which was of major assistance in enabling the parties to achieve their goals.”
The Ineos site is registered under two titles (for links see below).
The petrochemical plant is registered in STG29375 and is owned by Ineos Chemicals Grangemouth Ltd. which is a company 100% owned by Ineos Europe Holdings Ltd. which is a company 100% owned by Ineos Jersey Ltd.
The oil refinery is registered in STG64980 and is owned by Ineos Manufacturing Scotland Ltd. which is a company 100% owned by Petroineos Manufacturing Scotland Ltd. which is a company 100% owned by Ineos Refining Li Ltd., a joint venture company between PetroChina Company Ltd. and Ineos Investments (Jersey) Ltd. This join venture company is not registered in the UK but probably in China and the “Li” in the name is probably a reference to Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang who, with Nick Clegg, witnessed the deal in 2011.
Curiously, the salmon fishing rights in the River Carron and 1486 hectares of the Firth of Forth are owned by BP Exploration Operating Company Limited under title STG27415.
Grangemouth Town Council was abolished at midnight on 15 May 1975 by the Local Government (Scotland Act) 1973 which received Royal Assent 40 years ago on 25 October 1973.
I hope someone returns to Grangemouth and makes a follow-up film to Moutrie Kelsall’s 1965 account. From indigenous local endeavours by Scottish businesses and municipal enterprise, we are now in a world of local government which is not local and does not govern and a world of global footloose private equity firms based in tax havens.
This is all about power.