The Cracker: Plans to upgrade Wilton site to US shale gas ‘will create hundreds of jobs’
Aug 14, 2014 17:11 By Kelley Price 0 Comments
SABIC UK will convert its massive plant to take US shale gas in a “very significant” investment :: £9m secured from Regional Growth Fund
Sabic has announced major upgrade of its Cracker Plant at Wilton
Major plans to upgrade Wilton’s Cracker will create many hundreds of construction jobs – and safeguard thousands more on Teesside.
SABIC UK will convert its massive plant to take US shale gas, in a “very significant” investment that will make it one of the most competitive facilities of its kind in Europe.
Bosses say the work, due to be finished in 2016, will secure the long-term future of the Teesside business.
A series of ‘future-proofing’ measures was announced by the company last year after it suffered a global drop in demand for products.
The 223-acre Cracker (Olefins 6) was built in 1979 and makes the essential chemical building blocks for everyday items from toothbrushes to TV and car parts – but sales have been hit by cheaper foreign manufacturers.
A ‘shale revolution’ in the States has made large supplies of competitively priced gas available.
Gallery: The flare at Sabic, Wilton – the ‘Cracker’
Work is already underway to build cryogenic tank at the company’s North Tees site, between Port Clarence and Seaton Carew, as part of an import terminal for the project.
Darlington firm Whessoe has been contracted for the work.
Yousef Al-Benyan, SABIC executive vice-president, chemicals, said the 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.
“Our long-term focus is to have a business that stays profitable not only in the European region, but across our global markets,” he added.
The Cracker flare at Sabic UK, viewed from Eston Park Academy
SABIC has also won the backing of Government, with more than £9m secured from its Regional Growth Fund (RGF)
Universities, Science and Cities Minister Greg Clark said the investment shows “real confidence” in Teesside and the UK economy and is great news for local employment.
He said: “It is a significant example of how we can use the RGF to support businesses to deliver their plans for growth.
“It also gives me particular pleasure as someone who grew up a stone’s throw away from Wilton.”