Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Our Fight to Find Big Investment

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Our Fight to Find Big Investment

Article excerpt

Byline: Wayne Barnacal, Chairman Of The Teesside Chemical Initiative And Senior Vice President Huntsman Tioxide.

Teesside's biggest private employer remains the chemical industry and all its related support industries.

After a long period of restructuring and plant closures, 2002 saw investments of over pounds 200m in new plants and

expansions.

In 2003, DuPontSA announced an expansion, costing over pounds 28m, of its PTA plant at Wilton.

There was also good news with the acquisition by the Singapore based SembCorp of the Enron Teesside Operations Ltd (ETOL) business, which provides vital support services to the chemical industry.

This is encouraging news and we continue to fight to get investors to take advantage of the great infrastructure and skills based here.

The manufacturing sites have grown over many years and are highly integrated and interdependent.

Non-UK interests now own the vast majority of the world's chemical industry, so to get investment we must make Teesside attractive and competitive.

These investors can choose from a wide range of competitor sites around the world.

New investment brings new jobs. Most of these jobs are not in the direct operation of the plants as technology has resulted in greater automation and computer control.

The new jobs are more likely to be in the design, construction and on going support for these plants.

For every direct person employed, between five and ten other jobs are supported in these other areas - many of them based in the Teesside area.

New investment also underpins and strengthens those companies who have already invested.

In 2001, when there was widespread concern about the state of the chemical industry, a group consisting of Teesside companies, trade unions, councils, development agencies, local MPs and regional government met with the Prime Minister Tony Blair and agreed that a "Compact" would be set up to try to work together to attract some key investments to underpin the future. …

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