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The region’s base and petrochemical cluster is one of the foremost in Europe. It is a vibrant collaborative community of companies with many global leaders represented.

Predominately based on Teesside, the region’s petrochemical industry, stretches back over 170 years during which time there has been a continuous stream of world leading products and processes. This legacy and the continual business rejuvenation driven by innovation and investment has cemented the region as a leading location for the process industry.

Teesside is hot-wired into the North Sea for the supply of oil and gas raw materials, whilst the port makes it a central point in the North Sea basin, giving access to both the European and wider global markets.

The sector feeds into benefits from other industries in the region. Many of the plants are integrated though a network of pipelines ensuring that the end product of one company becomes the raw material of another.

The 2,000 acre Wilton International site is one of the UK’s principle manufacturing sites. Owned by Sembcorp Utilities, the site is home to SABIC, Huntsman, Lotte Chemical UK, Ensus, Biffa, Invista, Yara, and International Power GDF Suez. With a 60 year heritage and originally a cornerstone of the ICI business, today 3,000 people work on the site and some 50 companies, including suppliers of key maintenance and engineering services.

The site has extensive existing infrastructure including power, steam and water and underpinned by one of the largest crackers in Europe. The cracker is owned by SABIC who produce ethylene, polypropylene and butadiene. SABIC also operates an ethylene liquefaction facility and recently opened the world’s largest low density polyethylene plant. The firm are currently undertaking the region’s largest process sector investment in a generation – the Teesside gas cracker conversion.

The site is one of only a few in Western Europe with special development status for heavy industrial use and in the last 15 years more than £1.25 billion have been invested on new and updated plant and equipment. Sitting alongside the Wilton International Site is one of the largest research and development centres in Europe – the Wilton Centre.

Billingham’s chemical heritage began in the 1920’s with the production of ammonia, fertiliser and plastic by then owners ICI. Today chemical, biotechnology and engineering companies continue to operate at the multi-company Billingham Chemical Park and include CF Fertilisers, Johnson Matthey, and Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies. Adjacent to this is the 62 acre Belasis Business Park – home to companies such as Cambridge Research Biologics, ABB and Biochemica.

Situated in the mouth of the River Tees on recovered land from the sea, an area of Seal Sands became an industrial park for the Chemical Industry in the 1960’s. Operators here include Ineos, Fine Organics, Kellas Midstream’s CATS, SABIC, Vertellus, ConocoPhillips, Navigator Terminals, Inter Terminals, Harvest Energy, Greenergy and Air Products.

The ConocoPhillips Ekofisk oil pipeline & Kellas Midstream’s CATS natural gas pipeline both landfall here also – with more than 20 per cent of the UK’s natural gas is brought in here before being transferred onto the national grid. Butane, ethylene and condensate are also supplied to a number of customers including Huntsman, Vopak and ConocoPhillips.

Other operators in the region include Huntsman, which has world scale plants in polyurethanes and pigments; CF Fertilisers (formally GrowHow) with the largest fertiliser plant in the UK and Lotte Chemical UK, who manufacture PET – a major component in plastic bottles. Biffa Polymers also operate from the Wilton site, recycling a significant proportion of UK milk bottles.

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© Copyright. North East of England Process Industry Cluster (NEPIC) 2015