In 2011, the UK Government assessed that the Grangemouth oil refinery was vulnerable to terrorist attacks. However, it has now been revealed that Ineos, the company that operates the huge refinery, has refused to pay for the counter-terrorism measures that MI5 recommended it adopts.
In 2010/2011, a branch of MI5, the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI), made certain suggestions that required the oil and gas contractor to spend anywhere from £4 million to £6 million on better security measures, such as alarms, CCTV and improved fencing around the perimeter.
Refusal to pay
The Grangemouth plant is responsible for refining nearly 40 per cent of the oil that is produced in the UK and therefore it is considered a vital infrastructure of the country. However, after the recommendations were made, Ineos informed the officials that it would not be spending money on upgrading the refinery’s security measures.
However, Ineos contended that the documents were very old and since then the company has made major changes to the security of the oil refinery.
The government documents, which were leaked, reveal that the oil and gas contractor had refused to step up security as it did not consider that it would directly benefit the company. Ineos stated that it could not afford to spend large sums of money and was also tied down by a debt agreement that disallowed expenditure that was unregulated.
Taxpayer money not an option
The CPNI was extremely worried about the vulnerability of the Grangemouth refinery as it supplies utilities to the neighbouring BP Kinneil oil and gas processing plant. Any attack on the refinery would have far-reaching effects.
The UK Government did not want to use taxpayer money to boost security measures as other firms would object as they had already incurred expenses to incorporate suggested security improvements. However, an Ineos spokesperson stated that the security of all its assets was a major priority for the company.