PX takes charge at Saltend Chemical Park after BP buy-out deal

By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 15 Mar 2018

A new era has dawned at one of the UK’s most important industrial complexes with a new owner and operator taking charge at Saltend Chemical Park. 

Infrastructure solutions business, PX Group, has completed the acquisition of the 370 acres Hull site, following the announcement that a deal had been agreed with BP a year ago.

The Teesside-based business said it intends to work with existing and new operators to develop and expand the park - which was established in 1914 and has, for the last 50 years, been owned by the oil major.

It currently comprises a collaborative cluster of businesses that manufacture more than a million tonnes of chemical products a year. These are used in everyday items including clothing, paints, pharmaceuticals and packaging.

Leading global companies operating at the upper tier COMAH site are Air Products, BP, Engie, INEOS, Nippon Gohsei, Perenco, Vivergo and Yara.

As part of the agreement, around 50 BP jobs have transferred employment to PX, which has stated that a safe changeover is the top priority.

Established as an independent company in 2002 and with an operating history going back to 1992, PX has expertise in managing, operating and maintaining some of Europe’s largest industrial facilities.

In March 2016 it announced a partnership with Blue Water Energy, a specialist private equity energy fund, to support a strategic growth plan.

The Saltend purchase is the first expansion through acquisition.

PX chief executive officer, Mark Kenrick, pictured right, said: “This marks a major new chapter in the development and diversification of our business. The provision of industrial utility services on a large COMAH site is a natural extension of our core competence in gas processing, power plant and midstream infrastructure operations. Our huge experience operating and maintaining plants on sites like this and in the processes carried out, makes this an ideal opportunity for PX.

“Over the coming weeks we will focus on a safe transition with uninterrupted supply of services and utilities to our on-site partners. Our drive will then be to develop the park further and attract more manufacturers to benefit from the unique competitive advantages it offers, whilst, of course, ensuring we provide a first rate service to the existing site partners.”

The company also currently operates major gas processing plants in Scotland and on Teesside; gas pipeline operations in the North Sea; power generating operations on Teesside, in Stallingborough, Cumbria and in Wales and fuel storage and distribution facilities there also.

It is also, via its engineering and consultancy company, PX ECL, supplying owner’s engineering and project management services on the £650 million construction of the world’s largest, new build, biomass combined heat and power station at Teesport. Generating up to 299MW of electricity – enough to supply 600,000 homes – the project is one of the most important thermal power plant construction projects for decades.

An energy trading division – E24 – manages energy buying and selling on behalf of clients, as well as services relating to industry ICT and administrative activities.

As reported, BP will remain as the owner and operator of two acetyls plants at Saltend. They are the largest producers of acetic acid in Europe. Additionally, BP’s acetyls business in Hull is at the forefront of research and technology in the petrochemicals field and hosts one of the principal global research and technology centres for petrochemicals.

BP’s chief operating officer of petrochemicals, Rita Griffin, said: “Our petrochemicals business is in a competitive market but one where we see opportunities based on the strength of our proprietary technology, the expertise of our people and our advantaged manufacturing operations.

"With the support of PX as our infrastructure providers, we can concentrate on our strategy to drive forward our safe and competitive acetyls operations. We’re delighted with the expertise px will bring to the park and we look forward to working with them towards the next chapter of BP’s story in Hull."

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