PetroChina has reportedly expressed interest in buying a stake in Scotland's sole refinery from a heavily indebted British chemical company as the oil giant continues to look for discounted overseas acquisitions. PetroChina is one of the parties interested in buying into the Grangemouth refinery, British media quoted Scottish National Party councillor Angus MacDonald as saying on Thursday. The refinery is owned by Ineos Group Holdings, one of Britain's largest private companies controlled by Jim Ratcliffe. An Ineos spokesman confirmed it was in discussions with 'a number of potential partners about growth opportunities in Grangemouth', adding such talks included possible investment in the refinery. 'Normal commercial confidentiality prevents us from naming names,' he said, when asked if PetroChina was one of them. PetroChina's spokesman declined to comment. Ineos bought the refinery, with a daily capacity to process 200,000 barrels of crude oil, as part of a ?5 billion (HK$63.64 billion) purchase of BP's petrochemical assets in 2005. The acquisition was heavily debt-financed. The global economic crisis and an ensuing slump in chemical demand forced it to seek approval from 230 creditors, to which it owes Euro7.5 billion (HK$80.9 billion), to give it more time to work out a debt restructuring. UOB Kay Hian Securities analyst Wang Aochao said the potential acquisition would not be of much strategic value to PetroChina unless it came with the possibility of gaining exposure to oil and gas exploration and production in the North Sea. Mirae Asset Securities head of energy research Gordon Kwan said the purchase could provide PetroChina with a chance to expand into Europe. It also could provide a hedge to risks that Beijing may squeeze domestic refiners' profit margins through fuel price controls if crude prices spiral. PetroChina late last month announced it was paying S$1.47 billion (HK$7.82 billion) for a 45.51 per cent stake in Singapore Petroleum, which has a daily capacity to process 285,000 barrels. Analysts said the purchase would allow the mainland to gain influence over the region's oil pricing, given about 12 per cent of the world's daily output passes through the Strait of Malacca off Singapore. The mainland imports about half its crude oil consumption. Meanwhile, Mr Wang said PetroChina's 9.7 billion yuan (HK$11 billion) purchase of a refined oil pipeline and a crude oil pipeline from parent China National Petroleum Corp unveiled on Thursday was reasonable as it was struck at net asset value.