The North East of England Process Industry Cluster (NEPIC) were recently joined by five HM Treasury representatives as they visited Tees Valley to discover more about the challenges that industry is facing on the ground.

The day included a tour of the Wilton International site and roundtable talks with regional industry giants including Mitsubishi Chemical Group, ConocoPhillips, Alpek, px Group, SABIC, Navigator Terminals, Sembcorp, Wood and Kellas Midstream.

The meeting comes following another visit from the Department for Business and Trade earlier this year, which enabled the government officials to understand the attractions for overseas companies to invest on Teesside.

Currently, the North East process sector is still decarbonising by de-industrialising with facilities closing due to internationally high energy prices. During the visit, it was emphasised how there is a need to reverse this trend by attracting international investment to access decarbonisation via CCS and hydrogen for the potential for Teesside’s chemical industry to grow using decarbonisation as a lever.

Throughout the discussion NEPIC’s CEO, Philip Aldridge warned: “The government must play its part with industry friendly policies that are clear, match the USA’s IRA and the EU’s Green Deal financial incentives, and are simple to understand.”

The issues raised from companies on Teesside included the on-shore CO2 collection not being built as planned, a complex application process for Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) and a lack of clarity on how companies will access the CCS pipeline, plus the need for a Carbon Boarder Adjustment Mechanism.

Government officials were also notified of uncertainty around regulations hitting investments on Teesside, concerns around UK chemical innovation being deployed overseas and insufficient incentives for CCS and Hydrogen.

Following the visit, Philip added: “It was great to have representatives from HM Treasury visit ourselves and nine of our NEPIC members in the Tees Valley.

“It is imperative we continue these discussions with HM Treasury, and other government departments, to ensure we can overcome the challenges our industry faces on the path to decarbonisation and Net Zero.”

James Thorniley-Walker, head of heat and industrial decarbonisation at HM Treasury said: “We have enjoyed visiting Wilton International today to speak with members and get their feedback on different government policies to allow us to know what is working and what is not.

“We also wanted industry on Teesside to understand that we are the right people to speak to when they have issues and we have enjoyed understanding how we can do more to support this sector on its path to decarbonisation.”

Kirbie Bestford

Author Kirbie Bestford

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