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INEOS Moves to Shutter Acrylonitrile Plant

October 8, 2019

Oil products and chemicals firm INEOS said this month that it may close its acrylonitrile manufacturing plant at Seal Sands in Teesside, England due to safety and environmental issues caused by decades of “significant under investment,”

“Despite the company’s best efforts and the fact that every penny of profit has been ploughed back into the site to reverse this situation, the company is of the view that nothing more can be done to ensure that operations are both safe and economically viable,” the company said in an October 3 press release. “It would require another £200m just to meet INEOS standards and environmental regulations.”

While the company invested about £200 million in upgrades at the site over the past decade, INEOS said it could not ensure the safety of its workers at the site and the surrounding community. Acrylonitrile production is an intensive process that requires the handling of large quantities of hazardous material. 

“After considering many options, we feel that we must now consult with employees on a potential closure of the plant. We do so with a heavy heart, but there is no escaping the fact that decades of under investment on the site have led us to this point,” Paul Overment, the CEO of INEOS Nitriles, said in a statement. “Manufacturing assets need constant renewal if they are to survive. The last 10 years have proven that it is almost impossible to play catch-up and the lesson for us and other UK manufacturers is that constant reinvestment is vital for long term prosperity.”

Some of the 224 people employed at the Teesside facility could be transferred to other operations at Seal Sands. INEOS, which acquired the site in 2008, said It will consider “any viable alternatives” to shuttering the plant.

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