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Dow intends close EO & MEG facilities at Wilton – NEPIC
22
Jul '09
Dow Chemical Company announced that it intends to close its ethylene oxide and glycol (EOEG) production facility at Wilton, United Kingdom by the end of January 2010.

This decision is being implemented only after every possible commercial option has been explored.

A Public and Private sector team has tried hard over the last 6 months to make a deal work with potential buyers of the facility but without success. In fact, no viable proposal that the public sector could support ever emerged.

Both NEPIC, and One North East will continue to work with Dow and the other companies affected by this announcement with the hope of finding a solution, however downstream users of these materials have already begun the process of making arrangements to ensure that the effect of this decision on their customers is minimised. Consequently this announcement by Dow has already precipitated a similar closure announcement by Croda at Wilton who are the major on-site users of EO.

The closure of this Dow facility therefore has an impact on the Teesside integrated chemical units. One North East, NEPIC and Tees Valley Regeneration will now redouble their efforts to find new investments that will fit alongside the remaining integrated facilities. There has been recent success in this respect with the Ensus Bioethanol Plant, the largest in Europe, and SABIC's world scale Low Density Polyethylene plant coming on stream.

These are difficult times for the Teesside Commodity Chemical Industry however the region does have a portfolio of investment projects that are ongoing. Should one or two of these be secured they will help to rejuvenate the Teesside Industrial Landscape.

Stan Higgins CEO of NEPIC said “This is a difficult time for the employees affected by this decision and our thoughts are with them today. We will be helping them to find new employment over the coming months alongside our colleagues from the Public sector.” Stan went on to explain “EO is a strategic material for a modern industrial society, like the UK, and there will be wide ranging impact on the country as we will now have to import the raw materials for products, like detergents and Shampoo, Soap & Softeners. Products made from EO have wide ranging uses. Large quantities of EO cannot be transported easily as it is a very hazardous material.”

“A recent study that suggests that ceasing the manufacture of EO in the UK would eventually impact on jobs locally and across the UK amounting to 500 direct jobs and 2000 indirectly.”

Ian Williams, Director of Business and Industry at One North East, said: “These announcements are very disappointing and we will be working with our partners to support affected staff."

“One North East is working closely with NEPIC and organisations across the Tees Valley to bring new investments to the area, which continues to have a worldwide reputation for excellence in the process industries sector."

“Despite the tough economic conditions facing the sector and wider industry, the process industries remain a very significant contributor not just to the regional economy but to the UK as a whole.”

NEPIC, the North East Process Industry Cluster, represents over 500 chemical, pharmaceutical biotechnology and support companies across the North East of England. Together they represent the largest (25%) section of the economy in the region, contributing £10bn GDP to the economy each year, employing 34,000 people directly and indirectly supporting a further 200,000 jobs.

North East Process Industry Cluster


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