MORE than £9m is being invested in Tees Valley’s industry to help a chemicals specialist with expansion plans.
International chemicals manufacturer SABIC is investing in its sites on Teesside, both at Wilton and North Tees.
The chemical cracker at Wilton will be converted, with the help of more than £9m of funding from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund (RGF), to use ethane as a feedstock.
The ethane will be imported from the US where abundant supplies of competitively priced gas are now available as a result of the shale revolution.
Meanwhile at the North Tees plant at Port Clarence, construction work is under way on a new import terminal and tank to carry the ethane.
SABIC employs 600 people directly and 400 contractors. The new investment will secure the long term future of SABIC’s petrochemicals operation on Teesside, safeguarding hundreds of jobs.
SABIC Executive Vice President, Chemicals, Yousef Al-Benyan, said: “This project reflects SABIC’s strong determination to take advantage of cutting edge technology in creating new sources of competitive feedstock and energy that will allow the company to continue to build a sustainable business and deliver on its long-term vision. Our long-term focus is to have a business that stays profitable not only in the European region, but across our global markets.”
The cracker conversion will allow SABIC to use its existing facilities to produce olefins and their derivatives more competitively.
These products are essential building blocks for materials used in items such as packaging products to protect food, health care products, automotive and building and construction parts.
Universities, Science and Cities Minister Greg Clark said: “This investment shows real confidence in Teesside and the UK economy and is great news for local employment.”