Scotland’s chem sector to increase exports by 50% to £4.5bn by 2020

29 May 2012 00:02  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Chemical Sciences Scotland has unveiled a blueprint for increasing the exports of Scotland's chemical sciences industry by 50% from £3bn to £4.5bn by 2020, the group, a partnership between industry, academia and government agencies, said on Monday.

Launching the strategy for an industry which is only second to whisky in terms of Scottish export value, Scotland's Enterprise Minister Fergus Ewing said: “The chemical sciences sector is already of vital importance to Scotland's economy. It is Scotland's second biggest export sector, with exports valued at around £3bn [$4.7bn, €3.8bn], and employs 14,000 people in Scotland.

"Chemistry has a key role to play in all of our lives, in the food we eat, the clothes we wear and the pharmaceuticals that help to keep us healthy. The sector is a great example of the innovation and skills there are in Scotland.”

The Scottish chemical sciences sector accounts for 15% of UK industry overall, employing 14,000 people directly and 70,000 through dependent services, according to Chemical Sciences Scotland.

“The time has come to recalibrate our sights and focus on driving export growth and making Scotland a can do place to do business for the sector,” said Sandy Dobbie, chairman of Chemical Sciences Scotland.

“The chemicals industry also offers innovative low-carbon solutions to many of the challenges of the future when it comes to meeting our energy needs,” he added.

As part of the launch of the blueprint, Sasol Technology UK announced it is making a £1m investment in its research and development facility at Scotland's University of St Andrews.

Sasol is a producer of synthetic liquid fuels and chemicals, using coal, oil and natural gas reserves.

Robert Tooze, managing director of Sasol Technology UK (STUK), said: “This [£1m investment] builds on an earlier R&D grant from Scottish Enterprise that helped us diversify into gas to liquid (GTL) technology.

“We use the principles of nanotechnology to develop new generations of catalysts bringing in international experts where appropriate. The new investment is a custom made unit for high throughput testing of catalysts. This capability establishes STUK in Scotland as a global centre of excellence in this work throughout Sasol,” Tooze added.

($1 = £0.64, €1 = £0.80)

By: Franco Capaldo
+44 (0)20 8652 3214

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