Come behind the scenes at Wilton International, once the workplace of thousands of ICI’s Teesside employees, and now home to some of the world’s most advanced process plants.
Tees Business joined nearly 100 Teessiders on a rare behind-the-scenes tour of the massive Wilton International site, near Redcar.
The visit was organised by global chemical giants SABIC as part of the annual series of Discover Middlesbrough events, with SABIC’ Teesside Site Director John Bruijnooge and Sembcorp’s Terry Waldron acting as tour guides.
The site is home to giant processing plants owned by six major blue chip companies – and the Wilton International site lives up its name, with the assets owned by firms based in Saudi Arabia, the Korean Republic, USA, Singapore, Germany and France.
Starting and ending at the Wilton Centre, a whistle-stop coach tour of the site took us to view the major assets of SABIC, Lotte Chemical UK, Huntsman Polyurethanes, Sembcorp Utilities, Merseyside Energy Recovery and Ensus.
Tour guide Waldron said: “The truly international assets on the Wilton site are major players in the global petrochemical, chemical, renewable energy and biofuels markets.
“All of them are working in really tough European and global markets, and they are all great survivors and adapters.”
The tour took in:
The Olefins 6 Cracker and LDPE plant owned by SABIC – the iconic Cracker makes Olefins including ethylene and propylene, the building block chemicals that go into a wide variety of everyday products. SABIC is close to completing a multi-million pounds upgrade of the Cracker that will make it globally competitive. The £250 million LDPE (lower density polyethylene) plant was opened in 2008/09 and produces plastic beads that go into everything from plastic bags to supermarket packaging.
Lotte Chemical UK – part of the Korean-owned Lotte Group, the firm’s Melinar 5 and LC1 plants make polyester intermediates. Customers extrude the product to make it into plastic bottles.
Huntsman Polyurethanes – The US-owned plant makes polyurethane-based materials. Polyurethanes have a range of uses and go into everything from house insulation to the soles of training shoes and paint.
Sembcorp Utilities UK – the Singaporean firm has transformed energy made at Wilton from being primarily based on fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas to now being mainly based on biomass, a more sustainable fuel. The £65 million Biomass Power Station (also known as Wilton 10) uses wood from a variety of sustainable sources to make power (electricity) and heat (steam) for use on site.
Merseyside Energy Recovery – this waste-to-energy facility will utilise around 440,000 tonnes of waste from municipal authorities on Merseyside as a fuel to make enough power for 63,000 households – and steam for site purposes.
Ensus – a biofuels firm owned by the German company CropEnergies, their plant utilises sustainable sources of animal feed-grade wheat (bought from farmers in the region) to create a greener fuel. The plant has the capability of making around a third of the UK’s current green fuel needs.
• Full story in the new issue of Tees Business, published on November 21.