SAVING Scotland’s only oil refinery from closure with government investment could see its profitability treble, Alba’s depute leader said as the party launched a new campaign.

Kenny MacAskill, the MP for East Lothian, joined former first minister Alex Salmond and a host of campaigners from the party to launch a campaign to save the Grangemouth refinery on Saturday.

Last year it was announced that the refinery would close and transition to becoming an oil import terminal, sparking fears for hundreds of jobs there.

However it will operate until at least spring 2025 and other parts of the Grangemouth complex – such as the Forties pipeline system which brings in North Sea oil and gas – will continue.

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Alba said that Grangemouth would be a strategic asset post-independence as MacAskill argued: “Scotland’s Oil must be refined in Scotland.”

The party argued that a portion of the £9 billion in tax revenues generated for the UK Treasury in 2023 should be allocated to save Grangemouth’s oil refinery.

MacAskill said: “When it comes to saving Grangemouth oil refinery as a national asset for the whole country, as well as energy security for the future there is no bigger challenge facing Scotland right now.

“Grangemouth is already profitable but by making the required investment, as called for by the workers and Unite the Union, that profitability would be increased three-fold and the future of the refinery would be secured beyond 2025.

“This action will save the refinery, the 500 direct jobs and 2000 contractors jobs that depend on it.”

Alba said that their day of action had seen an estimated 20,000 flyers distributed explaining their plans to voters.

MacAskill added: “Alba Party will stand with workers and ensure that Grangemouth does not go down without a fight and we will pressure both the Scottish and UK Governments to now get off the fence and back the workers wholeheartedly in their fight to save their jobs, their communities and the industrial future of Scotland. Anything less would be a betrayal of these workers and of Scotland.”

In January, ministers from both the Scottish and UK Governments joined a “critical” meeting to discuss the future of the Grangemouth site. Tory energy minister Graham Stuart was among those in attendance.

Stuart had ruled out using public funds to save the refinery as he was quizzed by Alba MSP Ash Regan at Holyrood.