UK petchems in spotlight

The vote in favour of the UK leaving the European Union delivered a blow to business and to an industrial sector overwhelmingly supportive of the ‘Remain’ camp.

Chemicals and petrochemicals are vitally important to the UK. Trading extensively with continental Europe, the chemicals and pharmaceuticals sector contributes more than £40m/day to the UK economy. Currently, it employs half a million people, spends more than £5bn/year on research and development and invests £4bn/year in capital expenditure according to industry data.

Petrochemicals and plastics are an important part of the whole. When a major investment at Sabic’s plant at Wilton is complete the country will have three of Europe’s five major ethane crackers.

The data here from ICIS shows what proportion of the EU’s major petrochemical assets are in the UK. They also illustrate the latest trade flows for the major olefins, aromatics, 12 major polymers and 21 intermediates.

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