Cyber-Attack: Our Response and Service Status

Petroineos Permit Derogation

Petroineos hub

Service status

A sophisticated criminal cyber-attack has had a major impact on the way SEPA works. We are working through all the services that we provide to understand what we need to do in the short and longer term to restore services. We are approaching this work with a sense of urgency.

Petroineos Permit Derogation

Grangemouth is Scotland’s largest manufacturing site and one of the largest, most complex sites in the UK. Along with other companies, Grangemouth is home to Petroineos, Scotland’s only crude oil refinery which produces the bulk of fuels used by Scottish families, communities, public services and businesses.

Every day, SEPA works to protect and enhance Scotland’s environment and continues to require environmental improvements at Grangemouth. Working with Petroineos, SEPA has driven significant improvements in air quality, emissions and environmental performance.

Between 2002 and 2017 Sulphur Dioxide emissions from Petroineos reduced by 41% (3,206 tonnes) as a result of significant investment in environmental performance in 2013. Additional investment completed in early 2018 is due to deliver a further 8% (600 tonnes) reduction from the 2002 emission level. The site now meets all objectives within the Grangemouth Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) and was rated as achieving ‘broadly compliant’ status in SEPA’s Compliance Assessment Scheme for 2017.

In line with other UK and European industrial facilities, Petroineos has proposed a revised timescale to comply with European emission requirements. This is known as a derogation. The proposal reflects the nature, age and complexity of the Grangemouth site.

The derogation relates to the burning of oil and gas as a fuel and the emissions from the Fluidised Catalytic Cracking Unit (FCCU) and the three elements of the proposal are listed here; 

  • Conversion of large combustion units which currently burn gas and oil to burning only gas in April 2019.
  • Treatment of gas to remove Sulphur and the cessation of remaining oil burning by mid-2023.
  • Continued operation of the FCCU in its current form until 2026 (the next BAT conclusions review).

Following a thorough and robust technical and legal assessment, SEPA considers that the proposal will deliver short term environmental gain by further reducing Sulphur Dioxide emissions, and will also drive medium term advances linked to planned investment at the Petroineos facility. Indeed this week, in a Proposal of Application Notice (POAN) to Falkirk Council, Petroineos announced multi-million pound plans for a next generation crude oil processing unit and vacuum distillation unit which will be subject to public consultation over the coming months. 

The proposal, backed by robust environmental monitoring, will see Sulphur Dioxide emissions reduce by up to 68% against predicted 2018 performance by mid-April 2019* and another 25% reduction by 2023**.

Compliance with the robust requirements will be ‘locked in’ to the permit and we’re clear that compliance with these is non-negotiable.
Whilst SEPA considers the derogation will not only deliver short term environmental gain by further reducing Sulphur Dioxide emissions and also drive medium term advances linked to planned investment at the facility, we’d welcome views and have launched a consultation.

* A further 10% reduction against 2002 baseline (734 tonnes of Sulphur Dioxide).
** A further still 3% reduction against 2002 baseline (255 tonnes of Sulphur Dioxide).


SEPA's Head of Continuous Improvement, Lin Bunten, talks about the Petroineos proposed revised timescale to comply with European emission requirements - known as a derogation.