Teesside chemical leaders gave their views on the future of the UK’s industrial strategy when one of the government’s top business politicians paid a visit to the region.
SABIC paid host as Lord Prior, the recently appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, toured the chemical global giant’s upgraded Olefins 6 Cracker and visited Applied Graphene at Wilton, near Redcar.
Lord Prior then joined a multi-company discussion with representatives of the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI), Tees Valley Combined Authority, Sembcorp – Wilton International, SABIC, Fine Industries, Lotte Chemical UK, Arcinova, Fujifilm Diosynth, PD Ports, CF Fertilizers, Thomas Swan, Huntsman, Calysta, Victrex, BOC-Linde, Chemoxy International, Ineos and Johnson Matthey.
Facilitated by the North East Process Industry Cluster (NEPIC), the region’s chemical, polymer, biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies discussed their needs and concerns relating to Government’s draft Industrial Strategy.
Discussions focused on the importance of support for technology implementation to enable more rapid deployment from our universities – including process intensification and lab on a chip projects.
Energy costs and the opportunities that could arise from private wire networks, along with the future of industrial carbon capture and storage and CO2 utilisation were also examined.
Representatives highlighted the importance of thinking now about future feedstocks for the industry, including Clean Coal, as well as the uncertainty over future tariffs arising from Brexit.
NEPIC chief executive Stan Higgins said: “Lord Prior was very appreciative of the energy he had witnessed from the sector.
“He reassured the group that the Government is far more open minded about its role in support of industry and expressed his hope that, through an industrial strategy, the country’s productivity could be improved and economic wealth could spread.
“Furthermore, Lord Prior stated that the Government is looking to further incentivise R&D, improve life-long learning in the skills agenda and recognise the importance of place in the industrial landscape.”
Higgins added: “NEPIC has agreed several follow up topics with the participating companies that we will take forward on industry’s behalf.”