South Tees Development Corporation (STDC) has signed a landmark partnership agreement with energy and utilities firm Sembcorp to maximise investment opportunities at two of the key industrial sites in the Tees Valley.
Sembcorp Utilities UK is the powerhouse behind process manufacturing at the 2,000-acre Wilton International site, adjacent to the 4,500-acre STDC area.
Both sites have seen massive interest from global investors, with Wilton securing more than £1.5 billion of new investment in the past 15 years.
Since its launch last year, the STDC area, which includes the former SSI Steelworks site and approximately three miles of river frontage, has received more than 100 enquires from investors around the world.
To ensure both areas fulfil their potential and attract the right kinds of businesses to the most appropriate sites, STDC and Sembcorp have now signed a Memorandum of Understanding – an agreement to jointly promote investment, directing businesses to the most appropriate site for their requirements.
Wilton is home to a range of major blue-chip international chemical and process industry firms including petrochemicals giant SABIC, chemical firms Lotte Chemical UK and Huntsman Polyurethanes, sustainable biofuels pioneer Ensus UK and waste to energy specialists Suez.
Fertiliser development company Sirius Minerals has also recently acquired land for a polyhalite processing plant at the site and Australian firm Peak Resources has cited the close proximity of the deep water port and the supply chain advantages of the area as two of the reasons they chose Wilton as a site for a proposed rare earth refinery.
Sembcorp has its own investment plans and is currently part-way through a national planning process that could see a new gas fired power station of up to 1,700MW developed on the site to meet the existing and anticipated future site power demand.
STDC aims to create 20,000 jobs over the next 25 years and is close to announcing a major investor into the area in the coming weeks.
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen, chair of STDC, said: “It made perfect sense to join forces with Sembcorp to support the development of both sites rather than work in isolation.
“The STDC area is the single greatest development opportunity in the UK right now. Our bold vision will see the area completely transformed into a hotbed of new industry bringing sustainable economic growth and prosperity to the region.”
Nomi Ahmad, head of Sembcorp’s UK business, said: “This agreement is a significant step forward in the regeneration of this area.
“By working in partnership with STDC we can combine our business and marketing skills, avoid duplication of effort and ensure that the right investments are attracted to the right parts of the two sites.”