Energy giant Ineos is to invest £60 million to expand its Grangemouth site with the addition of a new furnace on its ethylene plant.

The firm has awarded a contract to build the furnace to Germany-based Selas-Linde GmbH.

The company said the investment showed its commitment to UK manufacturing at a time when it is in decline across many industrial regions around the country.

The addition of a tenth furnace, will improve efficiency of the plant and increase its production capacity, to ensure the business can continue meet growing demand for its products.

John McNally, chief executive of the company’s olefins and polymers division, said: “Our plans to invest in the UK with the further expansion of our plant at Grangemouth has been made possible because we now have access to the raw materials that we need.

“The successful completion in 2016 of our project to bring to Grangemouth plentiful supplies of competitive US shale gas ethane over a long-term agreement, has breathed new life into the plant.

“Production from Grangemouth provides vital raw materials used extensively throughout UK industry.

“Having additional furnace capacity will provide a range of future opportunities, not just for Ineos and for the site, but also for the heartlands of manufacturing in Scotland and the North East and North West of England.”

Subject to planning approval, preparatory project work will begin later in 2018, with the main construction work starting in 2019 and commissioning towards the end of 2020.