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Inch Magazine

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  • Why shale gas from the US still works with $30 oil

    THE collapse in oil prices does not trouble INEOS, which has just invested $2 billion to transport US shale gas to Europe. Tom Crotty, INEOS’ Group Communications Director, said outsiders had questioned the viability of importing US gas when oil prices were now so low. But he said it did not matter because INEOS owned both gas and oil crackers. “For us, the fact that we’ve now got much lower oil prices hasn’t impacted the viability of bringing that gas in from America at all,” he said. “Instead, it has improved the profitability of our oil-based crackers.” Tom said there had been some ill-informed commentary. “Some have said that companies like INEOS must be mad to bring in ethane from the US when oil prices are so low but they are missing the point,” he said. “If you’ve got a gas cracker, you cannot use naphtha. You have to use gas. So the issue is not one of gas versus naphtha. It’s gas versus gas.” The availability of low-cost ethane, a natural gas derived from shale gas, has revitalised America’s chemical industry and given it an advantage over many competitors around the world which rely on naphtha, a more expensive oil-based feedstock. But with the collapse in oil prices, that advantage has narrowed. “The European petrochemical industry has done very, very well as a result of low oil prices, because the price of naphtha has fallen dramatically,” said Tom. “So margins have come back into naphtha crackers big time. If you’ve got both types of crackers, like us, then you have reason to feel very happy.” INEOS, which relies on ethane gas for its crackers in Norway and Grangemouth, said it was still cheaper to import gas from the US than buy it in Europe. “The other issue is that we cannot get gas in Europe,” said Tom. “Our Grangemouth cracker has been running at 40% output for the past three years because we haven’t got ethane. Ethane is running out fast in the North Sea. So your choice there is really simple. You need to either run a cracker or you don’t.” MOTHBALLED UNIT TO REOPEN A MANUFACTURING unit at INEOS’ Grangemouth site is to reopen eight years after it was mothballed. The plant has successfully completed rigorous recommissioning trials to prepare for the arrival of US shale gas ethane. INEOS announced the news shortly after the first shipment of US shale gas arrived at its neighbouring gas cracker in Rafnes, Norway. The first deliveries are expected at Grangemouth in the autumn. “We are now in great shape to finally run the Grangemouth plant at full rate,” says Gordon Milne, INEOS Grangemouth Operations Director. INEOS was left with no option but to close the second manufacturing unit at the KG ethylene cracker in 2008 after it could not operate it at full capacity. The arrival of US ethane changes everything. “When the gas finally arrives here, this plant will move into the premier league of European petrochemical plants,” said Gordon. The US liquid gas will be stored in a specially built ethane tank – the biggest in Europe – and make up for dwindling North Sea supplies.

    5 minutes read Issue 10
  • Who Dares Wins

    THE world has just witnessed a truly significant moment in the history of petrochemicals. Those shipments of liquefied ethane, which finally docked at Rafnes in Norway in March, will breathe life into INEOS’ European businesses. But forget the years, many million man hours and 5,000 construction workers it took to build the first two ‘Dragon Ships’ transporting this precious cargo. For those ships are just part of this incredibly inspirational story that is global in scale, breathtaking in its vision. It is also a story that many on both sides of the Atlantic had dismissed as pure fantasy. “It had never been done, and many said it couldn’t be done,” said Chad Stephens, Senior Vice President of Corporate Development at Range Resources, which is providing INEOS with the gas it needs. The arrival of these world-leading vessels, which were built in China, heralds a new era in the transportation of ethane gas. “Not often do you witness revolutionary moments in our industry, but this is one of them,” said Peter Clarkson, head of investor relations at INEOS. The difference this competitively-priced ethane will make to INEOS’ European petrochemical business is staggering, both in terms of energy and raw materials. INEOS will use it to power its plants as it turns it into ethylene, one of the world’s most important petrochemicals. “Shipping US ethane gas to Europe will safeguard our petrochemicals assets in Europe for many years to come,” said John McNally, CEO of INEOS Olefins & Polymers UK. The story, though, really began six years ago when INEOS dared to think the unthinkable. In 2010 Europe was reeling from the effects of the financial crisis. Energy prices were higher than ever and North Sea gas stocks were dwindling. In America, a revolution was underway. Shale gas had led to low energy and feedstock prices which had revitalised its manufacturing industry. But America had a problem. It had so much ethane that it did not know what to do with it. A plan was hatched at INEOS’ offices in Rolle, Switzerland, to create a virtual, transatlantic pipeline and bring the gas it desperately needed to secure the future of its European crackers. But how would INEOS do it? No one had attempted anything on this scale before. There was no way to get the gas from the shale wells in south western Pennsylvania to Philadelphia 300 miles away on the east coast of America. There were no export facilities in the US and no one had ever tried to ship ethane gas in such huge quantities. To INEOS Chairman Jim Ratcliffe, none of that mattered. “People said we couldn’t do it,” he said. “But at INEOS we have always believed that anything is possible.” As INEOS ploughed ahead with its ambitious plans and assembled a team of international partners, spanning three continents, others watched and waited. “The technology didn’t exist so we had to create it,” said INEOS Director Andy Currie. David Thompson, Chief Operating Officer INEOS Trading & Shipping, was the man given the task of overseeing the project. “It has quite simply been one of the biggest engineering projects in the world,” he said. “We are pioneers in this. We have been involved in the pipelines, the fractionation, the terminals, the infrastructure and the ships. We have had to do it all.” That bold, pioneering plan has now become a reality. To do it, INEOS struck 15-year deals with ethane suppliers, including Range Resources, to provide the gas, MarkWest to process the gas and Sunoco to pipe it hundreds of miles to the Marcus Hook Industrial Complex where it will be cooled to minus 140 degrees Fahrenheit before being shipped to Norway and later this year Grangemouth in Scotland. There was no doubt in the minds of all those involved. This was not a problem. This was an opportunity. An opportunity to safeguard the future of businesses in Europe and breathe life back into once-thriving communities in America. In America work began to convert a former oil products pipeline to carry the ethane on most of its journey from the Marcellus Shale to Marcus Hook, a once bustling oil and gas refinery which had closed in 2011. Sunoco, which still owned the rusting refinery, began pumping billions of dollars into transforming it into a world-beating chemical production, gas storage and distribution centre to enable INEOS’ fleet of ‘Dragon Ships’ to be loaded with cargo. Elsewhere, 50 miles of new pipes were laid and a new pumping station was installed. Over in Europe, INEOS partnered with Danish shipping giant Evergas to design ships capable of such a mammoth task. “It was an enormous task but Evergas understood perhaps better than anyone else what it would take to transport ethane in the quantities sought by INEOS over the distances required,” said Chad. Evergas did indeed. “Ethane-capable vessels existed,” said CEO Steffen Jacobsen. “But Evergas, together with its many stakeholders, created the largest and most sophisticated ethane-carriers to date. That ambitious vision from INEOS and Evergas is what has made this shipping project possible.” In Hamburg, Germany, HSVA worked on an optimised hull to meet the special needs involved in transporting ethane and Wartsila in Finland invented engines that could run entirely on ethane, which not only allowed more room for cargo but would reduce harmful emissions. Once the designs were complete, Sinopacific Offshore and Engineering, one of the biggest shipbuilders in the world, was given the final piece in the jigsaw. It had to build the ships. As work began in China, TGE Gas Engineering, one of the world’s leading contractors for the engineering and project management of gas storage, began building another ethane storage tank and infrastructure at INEOS’ Rafnes site to enable it to import ethane from the North American shale gas fields. Work also began on the construction of new shipping and storage facilities to handle imports of ethane at INEOS’ Grangemouth plant. For staff at Grangemouth, after months of uncertainty, the feeling of a bright, new dawn was palpable. For just months before that loss-making petrochemical plant had been threatened with closure amid a bitter industrial dispute during which staff had initially rejected the company’s survival plan. A change of heart eventually paved the way for major investment and a £230 million loan guarantee from the UK Government which meant INEOS could raise the money it needed to build one of the largest ethane storage tanks in Europe. Once built the ethylene cracker will be able to double production. It has been a mammoth task. But as Jim stood on the bridge of the first ‘Dragon Ship’, aptly named INEOS Ingenuity, he could not disguise his delight. “It’s wonderful when a plan comes together,” he said. “And it makes you feel very proud to have accomplished something that no one has ever done before.”  

    8 minutes read Issue 10
  • A world first for INEOS

    THE North Atlantic is not a place for the fainthearted. It is a potentially hostile environment for any ship, let alone one that is carrying liquid ethane. INEOS knew that – and that is why it turned to Evergas, a world leader in gas transportation. On the surface, INEOS’ brief was simple. It needed a ship that would be capable of transporting huge quantities of liquefied ethane gas at -90°C more than 1,000 miles across a deep, cold ocean, plagued by icebergs, dense fog, 50ft waves and severe storms. And it had to do it more efficiently than had been ever done before. The answer was anything but simple. But the result was the largest, most flexible, environmentally sustainable, multi-gas carrier ever built. “There is not a ship like this in the world,” said Hans Weverbergh, Operations Manager at Danish shipping company Evergas. “There were no ships that had pressurised tanks that could carry this amount of ethane. It was something that had never been done before.” Liquid natural gas has been shipped around the world for decades. Ethane though is a different matter. It had only ever been shipped in small vessels on short routes. Crossing the Atlantic would need much bigger boats. Other companies felt it simply wasn’t viable. But INEOS saw the opportunity and had the vision to make it happen. “These vessels are truly unique,” said Evergas CEO Steffen Jacobsen who has worked in the shipping industry for 35 years. “No-one has ever tried to ship ethane in these quantities and over this distance before. To do this, we have had to invent completely new ways of doing things.” INEOS wanted the ‘Dragon Ships’ to be able to be powered by the cargo it was carrying. For that it turned to Finnish company Wärtsilä, which set a new standard in fuel flexibility. It designed dual-fuel engines which were capable of seamlessly switching between liquefied natural gas, ethane, light fuel oil or heavy fuel oil without any loss of power. “It was a technological breakthrough,” said Timo Koponen, Vice President, Flow and Gas Solutions, Wärtsilä Marine Solutions. If INEOS’ engines run on ethane, there will not only be more room for cargo, but the vessels will produce 25% less CO2, 99% less sulphur dioxide and meet the International Maritime Organisation’s Tier III regulations. Each ship is also equipped with two engines to ensure the cargo gets through no matter what. The ships are the biggest ever designed of its kind. In layman’s terms each is the length of two football pitches and if you removed the cargo tanks, could hold 5,750 Mini Cooper cars. The tanks are located in the hull of each vessel, and each is capable of holding 11 swimming pools’ worth of liquefied ethane. HSVA, the German-based hull design specialists employed to maximise the efficiency of these immense vessels, tested scale models of the ships in realistic environments. The first two ships were built in a dry dock in Qidong, near Shanghai, by Sinopacific Offshore and Engineering, one of the biggest shipbuilders in the world. “SOE is one of very few companies that had the skills and construction facilities to take on the building of these massively complex vessels,” said CEO/Chairman Simon Liang. “When I actually saw those first two ships nose to nose at the dock, I thought ‘Man, these guys know what they’re doing’,” said Chad Stephens, Range Resources’ Senior Vice President of Corporate Development, who was invited to the naming ceremony. It was a momentous moment too for Evergas. “I felt so proud of all the people involved both internally and externally, all of whom had brought these vessels to life,” said Steffen. The naming ceremony marked another landmark in INEOS’ $2 billion global project to bring shale gas from the USA to its manufacturing plants in Norway and Scotland. INEOS is the first company in the world to opt to ship shale-gas derived ethane from America where the gas has led to a manufacturing renaissance.

    6 minutes read Issue 10
  • The gift that keeps on giving

    NO ONE could have predicted how one man’s persistence would change the course of history. But the ripple effects of engineer Nick Steinsberger’s work in the Barnett shale gas field – where, 20 years ago, he finally discovered the perfect liquid mix to extract gas from shale two miles underground – are still being felt today, not only in America, but all over the world. “I don’t quite feel as if it’s down to me and initially I never thought this would happen,” he told INCH magazine from his office in Fort Worth, Texas. “At the time I was just trying to make something work. But over time, I realised the enormity of what we had achieved and it feels good to have helped to provide the world with so much cheap gas.” This revolution – described as the most remarkable energy success story in US history – created enormous benefits in the US. For the petrochemical industry, one of the world’s biggest consumers of gas. For manufacturing which has undergone a renaissance. For communities hardest hit by the recession. And, perhaps most surprisingly of all, for the environment. Twenty years ago there were 250 wells searching for shale gas and oil in the Barnett gas field; today there are more than 200,000. For America’s petrochemical industry, the discovery of these vast, untapped reserves of shale gas has been phenomenal. “US chemical investment linked to shale gas has now topped $158 billion,” said Cal Dooley, President and CEO of the American Chemistry Council. As of January this year, 262 projects including new factories, expansions and process changes to increase capacity, had been announced. The petrochemical industry needs natural gas to heat and power its manufacturing plants. But that gas is not just a fuel for energy. It is also a raw material used to make thousands of essential products that we all rely on each day. Without it, there would be no plastic, car parts, packaging, medical supplies, tyres, glass, clothes, or iPad screens. “That’s often forgotten when we see heated debates about the merits of continuing to use gas,” said Greet Van Eetvelde, INEOS Head of Energy and Innovation Policy. “Many components of renewables, such as the blades of wind turbines and the lubricants in their gearboxes, also cannot be made without gas and oil.” And shale gas is making it a lot cheaper to do it. “The US chemical industry renaissance is just getting started,” Kevin Swift, chief economist of the American Chemistry Council, wrote in the trade group’s Year-End 2015 Chemical Industry Situation and Outlook. “The fundamentals are strong. Key domestic end-use markets expanded, consumer spending accelerated, the job market began to firm, and households enjoyed extra savings from lower energy costs.” And INEOS, which has 17 manufacturing sites in the US, is sharing in that good fortune. Later this year INEOS and Sasol’s new plant at INEOS Battleground Manufacturing Complex at LaPorte in Texas is expected to start paying its way. The plant, which is a 50/50 joint venture, will be able to produce 470,000 tonnes of high density polyethylene a year for the American market. With the site expected to grow, INEOS is also poised to finalise plans to invest in a more fuel-efficient combined heat and power system which will also help to reduce CO2 emissions. In December The Boston Consulting Group published a report, Made In America, Again. “The number of companies actively moving production back to the US continues to increase,” said a spokesman. “In fact the US has surpassed China as the most likely destination for new manufacturing capacity.” Part of the reason is lower energy costs, driven by shale, coupled with rising wages in China. Apple, the world’s largest technology company, cited those reasons for its decision to manufacture its Mac Pro personal computer – described as the most powerful Mac ever built – in Texas. It is all so different to a decade ago when the US was among the most costly places in the world for plastics producers. “Today, America is one of the most attractive places in the world to invest in plastics manufacturing,” Steve Russell, ACC’s vice president of plastics, said last year. “Even after recent declines in oil prices, our nation has a decisive edge.” America is now looking to capitalise on all those investments and sell to the world, a move described by Cal Dooley last year as the ‘surest path to a stronger economy and new jobs’. Global adviser Nexant is forecasting dramatic growth in US chemical exports over the next 15 years. In its 2015 Fuelling Export Growth report, it suggested sales of $123 billion by 2030 – more than double what chemical manufacturers exported in 2014. But there is also a growing appetite among Americans for products ‘Made in the USA’. One who understands that is Harry Moser, a veteran of the manufacturing industry and former president of machine tool maker GF AgieCharmilles, who in 2010 founded Reshoring Initiative to help companies re-evaluate whether to come home, “I had watched with dismay as more and more US jobs went, at first, to Japan, then Mexico, Taiwan, Korea and finally China,” he said. “The impact on the US economy was horrible with the loss of millions of manufacturing jobs. The United States used to be the world’s industrial powerhouse, and I had grown up experiencing its glory.” Since he founded Reshoring Initiative, about 1,000 companies have come home, bringing with them almost 100,000 jobs. “I am delighted with the response of the nation and many companies,” he said. “Sadly, though, many companies are still trapped in the ‘buy at the cheapest price’ mode instead of considering the total cost. It will take decades to overcome the MBA mentality.” Apple’s decision to manufacture its Mac Pro in America was also part Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook’s $100 million Made-in-the-USA push. “We don’t want to just assemble the Mac Pro here,” he said. “We want to make the whole thing here. This is a big deal.” In January this year America’s oldest hatmaker Bollman announced that it was moving 41 jobs back from China to its plant in Adamstown, Pennsylvania. It had launched an appeal in November for the public’s help in raising $100,000 to import 80 knitting machines, built in 1938, that weave the fabric for its famous Kangol 504. The public took its hat off to the company’s attitude – and responded. “Reshoring is the fastest and most efficient way to strengthen the US economy because it demonstrates that manufacturing is a growth career,” said Harry. “And without manufacturing, a country becomes progressively poorer.” But it is not just industry which has benefited from low-cost feedstock and energy prices. Shale gas has revitalised communities, including some hardest hit by the recession. The Associated Petroleum Industries of Pennsylvania said natural gas development had supported hundreds of thousands of jobs in Pennsylvania, contributed $34.7 billion annually to the state economy and had boosted profits in more than 1,300 businesses of all sizes up and down the energy supply chain. “Safe, responsible natural gas development has been good for the state economy, good for local economies and good for Pennsylvanians,” said Executive Director Stephanie Catarino Wissman. “And we want to keep it that way.” At Marcus Hook, the site of a former crude oil refinery which closed in 2011 with the loss of 500 jobs, there is now a real sense of excitement. The former refinery, which had produced gasoline, diesel and kerosene for 109 years, is being transformed into a major centre for processing and shipping natural gas liquids thanks to its links with the Marcellus shale industry. “The idling of the Marcus Hook Refinery was a difficult time for the Borough of Marcus Hook, for the Sunoco family, and for the whole region,” said Hank Alexander, vice-president, business development of Sunoco Logistics Partners LP. “But now the town is buzzing again, from downtown restaurants to local contractor facilities. And some of the workers who lost their jobs in 2011 are back working at the plant.” Sunoco Logistics had bought the old refinery in 2013, with the intention of linking it to the Marcellus shale, which now produces almost 20% of America’s natural gas, compared to nothing 10 years ago. Management believed the existing infrastructure for ship, rail, truck and pipeline positioned it as a hub for natural gas liquids. “We wanted to develop manufacturing enterprises that would recapture jobs and help revitalise manufacturing in the region,” said Hank. “The shale gas boom had re-animated towns such as Marcus Hook.” Mario Giambrone owns Italiano’s restaurant in Marcus Hook. “You can talk about it anyway you like in terms of the number of hoagies and pizzas but this is a godsend for this town and my business,” he told the Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association. David Taylor is President of that association, which is the leading voice for manufacturing in Pennsylvania. “The energy sector has almost singlehandedly kept Pennsylvania’s economy afloat during the recession and over the past few years,” he said. Developing energy from the Marcellus shale has also turned nearby Williamsport into the seventh fastest-growing metropolitan area in America. Dr Vince Matteo, President and CEO of Williamsport Lycoming Chamber of Commerce and Industrial Properties Corporation, said the vast majority of people locally had embraced the shale gas boom. “It was a game-changer for us,” he said. “I had never seen anything like it. At one point more than 85 businesses moved to the county, which led to the opening of countless restaurants and four new hotels.” Meanwhile, Williston, a once sleepy town in North Dakota, suddenly became the fastest-growing small city in America due to the oil boom again with new restaurants, new shops and new faces. Communities also benefited from the unexpected revenue streams from companies drilling for shale gas, which allowed them to make improvements that otherwise might not have been possible. “Having that funding source has been a tremendous boom to us,” Lisa Cessna, the executive director of the local planning commission in Washington County, just outside Pittsburgh, told The Associated Press. “It has helped build fishing piers, playgrounds and walking trails.” She told the Associated Press that there had been complaints about drilling sites on public land but said the end result outweighed the negatives. “You can make it work,” she said. “There are going to be bumps in the road. You’re going to upset some people. We insisted on special legal language that gives us control over many aspects of the drilling process. We approve every pipeline, well pad, access road. It’s labour intensive, but it’s worth it. The most important message is to maintain full control.” But one of the biggest surprises of all has been the effect of shale gas on the air we breathe with America’s CO2 emissions falling to their lowest level for 20 years in 2012. The reason? Gas, which became the fuel of choice to generate electricity instead of coal which emits twice the CO2. Despite all the benefits, though, not all – even those in incredibly high places – are championing shale gas. “President Obama’s animosity to fossil fuels prevents him from recognising the most remarkable energy success story in US history, maybe in all of world history,” said Dr Mark Perry, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and professor of economics at the University of Michigan. “But we need a president who will acknowledge it.” Dr Perry said shale oil had: Significantly reduced America’s dependence on foreign oil and petroleum from often unstable parts of the world. Helped to bring down gasoline prices and prevented the Great Recession from being even worse and lasting much longer. “Domestic energy production creates US jobs and generates royalties for landowners and tax revenues for the governments, state, local and federal,” he said. “And the drop in US gas prices to a seven-year low will save American consumers more than $100 billion in lower energy costs this year.”

    8 minutes read Issue 10
  • The $64,000 question

    FOR an atheist, Professor Peter Atkins has a great deal of faith. But his faith lies not in God, but in the chemical industry. And the important contribution it can make to today’s and tomorrow’s world. “Without the chemical industry, the world would lack colour,” he said. “We would live in Stone Age conditions, underfed, dressed in skins, without the many devices that ease our lives and entertain us. Our lives would be short and painful.” The retired chemistry professor from Oxford University in the UK says chemistry is hugely important for all of us. Its problem is that it is often misunderstood. “Most people know absolutely nothing about how the everyday products they use are made,” said Lawrence D. Sloan, President and CEO, Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates. “And having been a part of the chemical industry my entire professional life, it is extremely frustrating.” The petrochemical industry converts raw materials such as water, oil, natural gas, air, metals, and minerals into more valuable products that manufacturers then use to make – in essence – all the products we want, need and use every day. To put it into context, over 96% of everything made in the world is based on chemicals. But part of the problem for the chemical industry is that the public doesn’t view it as one of the most important industries in the world – and that’s a perception that must change. “How that can be changed remains the $64,000 question,” said Lawrence. “Our organisation, and others like it, has a major PR challenge to regularly ‘educate to advocate’ our elected officials so they understand the critical impact our industry has on society. Because not one industry contributes as much as we do to the modern world.” He described the chemical industry as the ‘unsung hero’. “Too many feel the industry bears no responsibility for the health and welfare of its employees or for the environment,” he said. “But it’s foolhardy to think the industry wants to inflict harm on itself just to try to increase its margins by an incremental percentage point or two.” At the Annual Dinner of the Chemical Industries Association, INEOS Communications Director Tom Crotty told delegates: “If government is genuinely committed to a manufacturing resurgence they need to understand that a thriving chemical industry is vital.” For it is the chemical industry’s products and technologies that are used to make everything from paints to plastics, textiles to technology, and medicines to mobile phones. But as an energy-intensive industry, it needs access to competitively-priced energy supplies if it is to survive. That is not a problem in America which is currently enjoying a manufacturing renaissance thanks to the abundant supplies of low-cost shale gas, which have driven down the cost of the raw materials that manufacturers need. But it is for Europe where energy costs are spiralling out of control, leaving manufacturers struggling to compete in global markets. Tom, who is also President of the CIA, said Britain urgently needed to address its energy base if it wanted a thriving UK chemical industry. During a recent survey of the UK’s glass and glazing industry by Pilkingtons UK, the rising cost of materials – due to energy costs – emerged as the ‘greatest obstacle’ currently facing their businesses. And it was, they said, their biggest challenge over the next two years. The importance of the chemical industry, which supplies raw materials to manufacturers, therefore cannot be underestimated. The two are linked inextricably. And it is very often where innovation starts. “Folks take for granted the incredible scientific discoveries the specialty chemical industry continues to make to help create the electronics, life-saving drugs, and smart energy homes we have come to enjoy and depend upon,” said Lawrence. INEOS, which employs 17,000 people at 65 sites in 16 countries, is proud of what it does to make people’s lives easier and more comfortable. It alone makes: Solvents that are used in the production of insulin and antibiotics. Efficient and effective biofuels to improve the sustainability of modern transport. Chlorine to purify drinking water. Synthetic oils that help to reduce CO2 emissions. Modern, strong but lightweight plastics to package, protect and preserve food and drink. Materials to insulate houses, offices, electrical and telecommunications cables. Products that have helped car manufacturers to make cars stronger and lighter and more fuel efficient, which have again helped to reduce CO2 emissions. The list goes on – as does the work behind the scenes to seek innovative solutions to many of the challenges facing society today. “Chemical products and technologies are used in almost every area of the world economy,” said a spokesman for International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA), the worldwide voice of the chemical industry. “And as the global economy grows, it will increase the demand for the chemical industry’s products. This growth drives product innovation, and the industry creates new products every year while striving to improve production processes and use resources more efficiently.” In 2014, American Chemistry invested $59 billion in research and development, the equivalent of more than $185 per person in the United States. “We invest more to innovate than the electronic, automobile, and healthcare industries,” said Cal Dooley, CEO and President of the American Chemistry Council. “The business of chemistry excels at continuously bringing new, imaginative and innovative ideas to market— and tomorrow will be no different.” The American Chemistry Council says, though, for its chemical industry to continue its ground-breaking work, the US must also adopt an energy strategy that takes advantage of its home-grown energy resources, including its vast reserves of shale gas. It is a view shared by Steve Elliott, Chief Executive of the CIA. He wants Britain’s $50 billion chemical industry to take advantage of the energy under its feet rather than rely on imported gas. “The UK’s own shale reserves will contribute to more secure gas supplies and support jobs and growth,” he said. “Without this, gas imports are projected to reach 75% of needs by 2030. UK shale gas will help to keep the lights on while the UK makes its transition to a green economy.” As one of the world’s largest industries – in 2014 its revenues exceeded $5.4 trillion – the chemical industry has a profound effect on the world we live in and will do in the future as society strives to create a healthier, safer and more sustainable world. “Unfortunately, the word ‘green’ means different things to people,” said Lawrence. “Some may feel that no chemical plant is ‘green’ by nature of the fact that it is handling chemicals, which in their minds is bad.” The chemical industry knows that it needs to change the public’s perception if it wants them to understand where the industry fits into modern life. “Strong, competitive chemical industries underpin all great manufacturing nations in the developed world because chemicals and materials are the essential component on which manufacturing is built,” said Steve. “Without its processes and ‘building block’ products, most of the rest of manufacturing could not take place.” He said although the industry was energy-intensive, its products, in their lifetime, saved more than twice the energy it took to make them. “We are delivering the green future,” he said.

    7 minutes read Issue 10
  • Troubled Times

    FOR a nation that blazed the path to industrialisation and mass production in the 18th and 19th centuries, the truth is hard to bear. For the first time ever, the UK’s manufacturing share of the UK economy fell to 9.4% – the lowest point on record. For INEOS Founder and Chairman Jim Ratcliffe, who grew up in the industrial North of England, it troubles him greatly. “We are watching the slow death of manufacturing in this country,” he said. “We have lost half of our manufacturing in a single generation.” Twenty years ago, he said, it was on a par with Germany where manufacturing is still strong. “This seismic shift in UK manufacturing may seem like a minor tremor in ‘services rich’ London, and much of the southern counties, but it is a catastrophe in slow motion in many parts of the North of England, Wales and Scotland,” he said. In October last year the Redcar steelworks on Teesside shut down with the loss of 2,200 jobs after Sahaviriya Steel Industries UK, the plant’s Thai owners, went into liquidation. Labour MP Anna Turley described it in The Northern Echo newspaper as a ‘human and industrial tragedy’. “Steelmaking is finished on Teesside,” said one man who had worked at the plant for 30 years. In the 1970s, more than 200,000 people worked in the UK steel industry. Today there are about 30,000 but their jobs are no longer safe. In January more job cuts were announced. Tata Steel confirmed 750 job losses at Port Talbot in Wales with hundreds of others facing the axe at its plants in Scunthorpe, Trostre, Corby and Hartlepool. A flood of cheap Chinese imports – steel production is subsidised in China – the strength of the British pound, and high energy costs in the UK have been blamed. Whatever the reason, it’s a worrying trend. “If we want to arrest the decline in manufacturing, or even return to growth, we need to give corporations reasons to invest in Britain,” said Jim. “We need competitivelypriced energy, a skilled workforce, attractive taxes and a government that wants to make it happen.” He said Britain needed what the marketing men called USPs – unique selling points. “Germany has them,” he said. “It has a highly skilled workforce, it is seated in the heart of Europe and it has great manufacturing infrastructure and competent suppliers. America has cheap energy thanks to shale gas, a skilled workforce and the world’s largest market. China has growth, cheap labour and a huge market.” It is not the first time Jim has spoken out about Britain’s failure to sell itself to investors. Three years ago he warned that Britain was not an attractive place to manufacture. In an interview with Alistair Osborne, The Daily Telegraph’s business editor, he cited the high price of energy. And understandably so, given that INEOS’ Runcorn plant, which provides the chlorine for 95% of Britain’s water, consumes as much energy as the city of Liverpool. He said the UK had to look at what it had to offer if it wanted to understand why it had fallen so woefully behind the pack. “It would be nice if there was a simple crisp answer but there is not,” he said. “To maintain or grow manufacturing, one needs a constant stream of investment as plants grow old and products grow old. New plants and new products need investment.” Britain, he said, needed cheap or at least competitively-priced energy. “We cannot offer that at the moment. And, with the North Sea running out of gas, the position is likely to get worse,” he said. “But we are sitting on huge shale gas deposits which could change everything.” In the 18th century, Britain built its wealth on its coal reserves which were abundant and easily mined. And it triggered the Industrial Revolution, with Britain very much at the forefront of change. Access to cheap energy, though, is not the only thing worrying the UK’s manufacturing industry today. Jim also highlighted the need for a skilled workforce. “We used to have excellent apprenticeship schemes, Polytechnics and Technical Colleges,” he said. “But government decided all young people needed to become graduates.” That concern is shared by many. A recent survey of British manufacturers – published in the Annual Manufacturing Report 2016 – shows the shortage of skills remains their greatest fear. “To put it bluntly, our education system is failing our youngsters and, consequently, creating problems for industry,” said Callum Bentley, Editor of The Manufacturer. “No one expects a fresh-faced youngster will have the skills and experience of a veteran but this is about being poorly prepared for work and it has been going on for decades,” he said. “The longer it continues the more it will compromise our competitiveness. The gap in understanding between schools and workplaces must be bridged, for the sake of our manufacturing base and for our people themselves.” Jim said it had been ‘uplifting’ to hear talk of a Northern Powerhouse – a Government initiative to redress the North-South economic imbalance – and described the current UK Conservative government as the most pro-manufacturing for many years. But, he said, to actually make a difference, Britain needed to attract investors. “Investors can afford to be very ‘picky’ in today’s highly competitive world,” he said. “INEOS has chosen to invest much of its capital in the USA. Many other companies have chosen the Far East.” Jim called on the British Government to offer 100% capital allowances for manufacturing capital expenditure and a single digit tax rate for manufacturing. “In today’s globalised world investment decisions are always compared and contrasted with alternative locations abroad. The UK is not currently a target for manufacturing investment because it lacks USPs. It needs some.” Late last year ResPublica, an independent, nonpartisan think tank based in Westminster, said a huge increase in exports was needed to revitalise British manufacturing and move the economy away from a ‘dangerous reliance on service industries’. Director Phillip Bond said foreigners buying UK property had driven up the value of the pound, making life harder for manufacturers to export. “The recent collapse of the British steel industry has highlighted the worrying fact that our economy is over-reliant on services and external finance,” he said. “Growth needs to come from the long-neglected manufacturing sector where exports have been hit by a strong pound. Sterling has a key role to play in helping exports and we need to address the problem of unfavourable exchange rates for British business.” One who would agree with this is Jim. “Any balanced economy needs to reflect to some extent the manner in which its inhabitants spend the money in their pockets. If the inhabitants buy ‘things’ with their earnings, we need to make ‘things’ in our domestic economy. If not we have to bring all manufactured goods in from overseas and pay for them in foreign currency.” BRITAIN MUST RE-INDUSTRIALISE A FORMER journalist on the Financial Times said INEOS Chairman Jim Ratcliffe was right to be concerned about the state of manufacturing in the UK. Peter Marsh said both the steel industry and the chemical industry had faced extreme problems. “De-industrialisation – manufacturing’s shrinking share of the UK’s economic output – has gone far enough,” he said. “If we are to have sustainable economic growth and higher living standards, Britain must re-industrialise.” But Mr Marsh, a former manufacturing editor on the FT, said although Britain had lost ground, it was still a big manufacturer of niche products, such as specialist analytical instruments, and goods which it didn’t make sense to import. “That can be anything from foodstuffs to mattresses and building materials,” he said. According to the latest UN figures, Britain is the 10th biggest manufacturer in the world, making just under 2% of the world’s manufactured goods – compared to 1895 when it made 18% of all goods. “Britain is not anything like as big as it was but for a country with 1 per cent of the global population it still punches above its weight,” he said. “China has come from a lowly position in the past 20 years and now is responsible for about 20% of total factory made goods. But it does have 20% of the world population.” Mr Marsh is now a lecturer and author of The New Industrial Revolution: Consumers Globalization and the End of Mass Production. He also recently set up a website for UK manufacturing www.madeherenow.com

    10 minutes read Issue 10
  • Keeping the lights on: INEOS seeks to dispel shale gas myths

    INEOS is now one of the biggest companies in the UK’s shale gas industry. But it knows it is easy to be the biggest. It’s quite another to be the best and the most trusted. With trust in big business, banks and politicians now at an all-time low, it has never been more important to win back the respect of the people. In April last year INEOS Shale, which now has government licences to explore one million acres in the UK for shale gas, began its quest to show communities that its intentions are honourable. “We are in this for the long-term,” said CEO Gary Haywood. “It’s not just about making money. We want to help lead a manufacturing renaissance in Britain and we believe an indigenous shale gas industry can do that.” It has already begun talking to communities in Scotland where it has licences to explore thousands of acres close to its manufacturing plant in Grangemouth. But as it waits for Scotland to lift its current ban on fracking, pending further inquiries, INEOS Shale has moved south – into England – where it hopes to convince people in Cheshire, Yorkshire, Derbyshire and the East Midlands of the benefits that a domestic shale gas industry could bring. “We understand that people in these areas are concerned,” said Gary. “And that is partly because there are so many myths about shale gas extraction. But we want to show that this can be done well and safely, and we want to meet the people in areas where we hold licences.” Exhibitions are being arranged to allow local people the opportunity to talk directly to INEOS – and ask any questions – about what it plans to do near their homes. INEOS Shale has also produced a series of films to dispel fears that people may have. They will be screened at the exhibitions where experts will explain what it means for communities which have been promised 6% of shale gas revenues by INEOS to improve local facilities. As INCH went to press, INEOS was planning thorough 2D and 3D studies of the rock in each county to check whether gas is present and accessible. If the results from that look promising, permission will be sought to drill 600ft vertical wells to take three-inch wide core samples of the rock to access the quality and quantity of oil and gas in the shale. “It is effectively like coring an apple,” said Tom Pickering, Operations Director INEOS Upstream. “It’s a cautious approach, led by science, but it is important that we get it right.” Once INEOS has all the detailed data it needs, a decision will be made whether it is economically sound – and safe – to frack the well using 98% water, 1.5% sand and 0.5% additives, which will prevent the build-up of scale and sterilise the well. “Some people say that 600 poisonous chemicals are used in fracking but that is just not true,” said Tom. “Most wells require between six and 12 chemicals. All chemicals used will have to be described openly in planning applications and permits.” INEOS Shale knows that its decision to pursue shale gas exploration has set it on a collision course with environmentalists who claim fracking is dangerous, causes earthquakes, poisons drinking water and affects the air we breathe. But the company has never been one to run from a challenging situation especially when it believes there is a strong economic and environmental case. “A home-grown thriving shale gas industry will not only revolutionise manufacturing in Britain, but it will give the UK energy security for the first time in many years and create thousands of jobs in areas which have been hit hardest,” said Gary. “If we can do that and reassure people that the industry can operate without long-term damage to the environment or their way of life, it’s a win-win situation for all.” Professor Peter Styles, one of three experts commissioned by the UK Government in 2011 to write an independent report after fracking by another company caused minor tremors in Lancashire, believes Britain’s long-term future depends on the vast reserves of shale gas buried deep beneath the ground. “I don’t think people realise how extremely vulnerable we are in the UK,” he said. “At the moment about 80% of UK domestic heating and cooking is gas and we import half of it. Some of it comes from Norway, which is probably all right, but a lot of it comes from Siberia which has not been the most secure form of supply over the years.” In January 2009, a dispute between Ukraine and Russia over natural gas prices led to deliveries to a number of European countries being cut off entirely. “We were down to two days’ supply,” he said. “And when that happens, companies like INEOS ChlorVinyls in Runcorn, which is the third biggest user of gas in Britain, get switched off to protect the domestic supplies.” INEOS not only uses gas, though, to heat and power its manufacturing plants. Gas is also a vital raw material used to make thousands of essential products that we all rely on each day. Without it, there would be no plastic, medicines, buildings, cars, computers, clothes, or iPad screens. “That’s often forgotten when we see heated debates about the merits of continuing to use fossil fuels,” said Greet Van Eetvelde, INEOS Manager of Cleantech Initiatives. “Many renewables, such as the important components in wind turbines and solar panels, cannot be made without gas. We will still need gas to make things even when we have switched to a low-carbon energy.” INEOS Shale, which holds more licences than any other company in the UK, believes most people are open-minded about shale gas development. “That is all we want,” said Tom. “We are not complacent. We do understand people’s concerns but many of the things people may have read about shale gas simply aren’t true. We are happy to be challenged if people think we are wrong. Understandably, they just want more information. And that is what we hope to provide at these meetings.” It will be an uphill battle because the anti-fracking groups have hijacked social media. But INEOS hopes to show that he who shouts the loudest, isn’t necessarily the most knowledgeable. WHY INEOS IS THE RIGHT COMPANY TO EXTRACT SHALE GAS IN THE UK FEW companies come with as much expertise as INEOS. In addition to its expertise above ground, handling flammable gases across its 65 manufacturing sites all over the world, the company also has expertise below ground. In November, INEOS acquired gas platforms in the North Sea – and, with them, a team of drilling experts who already supply enough gas to heat one in 10 homes in the UK. INEOS also employs the team who pioneered the development of shale gas in the US with more than 20 years of industry experience. Chairman Jim Ratcliffe said he could not understand why it was still so hard to convince people that shale gas extraction was safe. “There is such a wealth of experience of drilling and fracking for shale in North America that it should have dispelled all the concerns and ghosts,” he said. “In America they have now drilled and fracked in excess of one million wells over the past 10 years and it has produced an immense amount of hydrocarbons.” MISTAKES were made in the early days of shale gas exploration in America. Faulty well construction led to water contamination and waste water from fracked oil wells was left in open, unlined pits. “We have studied all of these cases to ensure we do things differently,” said Tom Pickering, Chief Operating Officer of INEOS Shale. Some US companies had used only one layer of steel in the well. INEOS will be using up to four layers of steel cemented one inside the other. Other companies had reused old wells. INEOS will use only new wells. The waste water was left in open ponds. INEOS’ waste water will be enclosed in double skinned storage tanks before being recycled. “It is important to acknowledge that there have been some issues but they happened in the early days of shale gas exploration in America and we don’t live in America,” said Tom. “This is the UK where we have one of the most rigorous regulatory regimes in the world.” Having reviewed the available evidence, the Royal Society and Royal Academy of Engineering have concluded that shale gas can be extracted safely with appropriate regulation. Extracting shale gas is not risk free and has to be done carefully, but the risks are manageable and comparable to other practices.

    12 minutes read Issue 10
  • Expertise comes to the surface

    INEOS Upstream may be INEOS’ newest business. But the people driving its new energy business are not new to fracking. On or off shore. On shore, INEOS is working with the three Americans who pioneered the development of shale gas in the US which has led to a manufacturing renaissance. Off shore, they have acquired a team who has been drilling and fracking safely for natural gas for years. All are confident that INEOS – with its expertise above ground, handling flammable gases across its 65 manufacturing sites – can become the first company in the UK to safely extract the vast reserves of shale gas currently trapped in rocks thousands of feet underground – and, in doing so, change public perception. “We think we can bring something unique to the emerging shale gas industry,” said Tom Pickering, INEOS Shale’s Chief Operating Officer who worked on a North Sea oil rig for years. Doug Scott is head of drilling at INEOS Breagh, a subsidiary of INEOS Upstream. “We have been one of the most active exploiters of fracking in tight sandstone gas fields in the southern North Sea over the past four years,” he said. “We have used the technique to get the gas out quicker and to access gas that was previously uneconomical to extract.” Shale gas is the same as North Sea gas. They are both natural gas. The only difference is the North Sea gas is extracted from sandstone situated around 3km (almost 2 miles) under the seabed and on shore INEOS would be extracting it from shale up to 5km (3 miles) underground. Doug and his team had – up until October – been working for DEA. That changed when INEOS bought the German firm for several hundred million dollars, and, with it, the responsibility for ensuring the supply of gas for 1 in 10 homes across the UK. INEOS Breagh operates four platforms in the southern North Sea and owns interest in 16 exploration licences. INEOS’ decision to buy – when all around seemed to be selling – has been seen as a ground-breaking move into the energy sector. Where others saw troubled waters – brought on by rising costs and plummeting profits – INEOS saw a huge wave of opportunity. That opportunity to acquire an immense amount of expertise – while improving the life and efficiency of these platforms without compromising on safety – was too good to miss. To help grow the business, INEOS will be relying on its new team of geologists, geophysicists and well construction experts who are now working for INEOS Breagh. The new team work well with INEOS Group because they share a similar ethos. “Safety and efficiency are paramount to us,” said Doug. “The design and planning work we did before we fracked our very first well was critical to its success and it cannot be overestimated. The time you spend to get everything right pays dividends during the operational phase.” He said the plans – and contingencies agreed in the event of something going wrong - ensured the team could manage the inherent uncertainties of drilling and fracking wells. “As always during the operational phase, in the event that operational progress conflicts with safety, safety always takes priority,” he said. Doug said safe and efficient operations relied on team competency and effective communication between those operating the rig, the frack vessel and the platform. At INEOS Breagh they fitted essentially a filter in the well to stop the proppant (primarily the sand) from reaching the surface during gas production. It meant the fracked well could be put on line 12 months ahead of an alternative technical solution being found. “The downhole screens were a first for fracked wells in the UK’s continental shelf in the southern North Sea,” said Doug. “But this simple technology potentially opens up all sorts of opportunities for our future fracked gas field developments.” And at Clipper South they sold the clean-up gas from the well instead of flaring it. “That was a first for us as well,” said Doug. “It took an enormous amount of effort and collaboration within the organisation to integrate the safety and productions systems, but by doing that, we not only captured about 300 tonnes of CO2 but it also created £4.3 million in revenue from the sales gas.” The platforms, which INEOS inherited as part of the deal, are relatively new, well managed and remotely controlled. “That was part of the appeal,” said Geir Tuft, CEO of INEOS Breagh. As INEOS moves further into the energy business, INEOS Shale will be hoping to learn valuable lessons from the team at INEOS Breagh. “We will be looking to take advantage of the new family ties in all areas by sharing resources and experiences,” said Geir. Since the acquisition, he has been working on a robust plan to improve the efficiency of the business, especially in light of falling oil and gas prices. Three years ago oil was selling at $110 a barrel; today it is below $40. “We need to be able to manage reduced cash flows to ensure the business is robust in all conditions,” he said.

    6 minutes read Issue 10
  • Everest. INEOS on top of the world

    IT’S hard to come down to earth when you have stood on the roof of the world. One who knows that from experience is Rhys Jones who conquered Mount Everest, the world’s highest mountain, on his 20th birthday. He had dreamed of that moment for eight years after listening to a talk as a 12-year-old Scout. In a sense, his work was now done and he had no desire to climb it again. “Once was enough for many reasons,” he said. “But in many ways I guess I never really came down. I can relive any part of the climb any time I close my eyes. It’s something I will never forget.” A few years ago, Rhys, who now runs his own luxury expedition company with his wife Laura, was asked to lead an expedition into the ‘death zone’ and on to the summit of Mount Everest. “I said ‘no’ because I couldn’t put a price on that experience,” he said. “You really have to want it to endure the hardship and danger, and I’m not sure that a pay cheque would drive me enough for that.” It was, however, a ‘pay cheque’ that got him there in 2006. “I don’t know what made me approach INEOS all those years ago for funding,” he said. “It was just chance research. But I had spread the net far and wide writing to sponsors, including Stannah Stairlifts which gave me £100.” He was on the verge of giving up when INEOS chairman Jim Ratcliffe agreed to meet the then 19-year-old. After an hour-long meeting Rhys walked out of the door with the money he needed to complete the expedition in his pocket – and an INEOS flag to plant on the summit. “I would not have been able to do it without INEOS’ help,” he said. “It was all the money I needed but it also meant much more to me. It was a huge boost to my confidence that Jim believed in me and it’s what pushed me to keep going on the mountain. I vividly remember taking the final steps to the summit a few months later, and having an overriding thought that I’d promised Jim a photograph of the INEOS flag on the top.” Rhys returned to the UK with a confidence and dogged determination. But he sensed something was missing. “It had been a target for so long that I missed having that goal to strive for,” he said. He started giving regular talks at dinners and events and working with schools. “I felt it was important to explain to children that I was very average when I set myself these goals,” he said. “I wasn’t a high flier. I was one of the 80% of students who turn up, do the minimum work to avoid trouble, and go home again. I was very anonymous, and couldn’t wait for the weekends when I could go climbing. But I was able to make things happen because I had the right approach.” He recalled how surprised his teachers were when he climbed Denali, the highest peak in North America, 12 months after sitting his GCSEs. “In one of my old school reports I had been advised to work on my fitness so that I could enjoy my PE lessons more,” he said. “No wonder they were surprised.” He also led expeditions for travel companies and charities. “It was fun but I always felt like I was short changing myself by working for a middle man,” he said. So he quit and set up his first company RJ7 Expeditions from an office in Dubai in the Middle East. He is now back in the UK and heading up new venture Monix Adventures, which specialises in guiding people to some of the most difficultto- reach places on earth. And for those seeking such thrills, his experience is invaluable. “I’ve had some low ebbs on expeditions,” he said. “I fell into a crevasse in Greenland and broke my arm. But we all face challenges in our lives. When things are tough, I remind myself that nothing last forever, no matter how steep, how complicated, or how difficult it appears.” As for the INEOS flag, which he unravelled during the five minutes he spent on the 29,035ft summit on May 17 2006, he hopes that it’s in an INEOS office somewhere in the world. “Who knows, seeing that may inspire someone else to follow in my footsteps,” he said.

    7 minutes read Issue 10
  • Debate: Do we need gas?

    ENERGY strategy in Britain has three big goals; keeping the lights on, keeping the bills down, and moving to a clean energy future. We need to meet the UK’s demand for energy, using clean and low carbon energy sources if we are to continue to combat climate change and grow the economy. But this isn’t something which will simply happen overnight. It will take time as we start to move to more renewable and low carbon energy sources. Moving from coal to gas would make a huge contribution to reducing our carbon footprint, and is the ‘bridge’ we need for many years to come. The anti-fracking lobby seem to think there is a bottomless pit of bill-payers’ money to fund renewable energy generation. There isn’t, and even if there was, we would still need gas – as a reliable source of electricity when the sun doesn’t shine or the wind doesn’t blow. Andrea Leadsom, Energy and Climate Change Minister, UK Government THE pursuit of shale gas is a fool’s errand when renewables can deliver what’s needed for an energy revolution. This is especially true for the 1.3 billion globally who lack any access to electricity, and for those who live ‘off-grid’ who need decentralised and locally appropriate technologies, but it’s also true for energy systems in the global North. Like new coal and new nuclear power, investment in unconventional gas is a serious distraction from badly-needed investment in renewable energy. There has been some research from the US which indicates that extracting shale gas via fracking could have a bigger total greenhouse gas footprint than coal. Apart from the climate impacts, gas extraction is the source of serious environmental and social conflicts around the world. Development of gas pipelines and infrastructure drive land grabbing and we believe threatens water resources and biodiversity in many places. Furthermore, we believe there are significant risks of water contamination and air pollution from fracking. Friends of the Earth International IT is incontrovertible that in the long-term we must move to as low carbon as practicable technologies but the tools for this (carbon capture and storage and renewable energy technologies) are not currently ready to satisfy global energy demand and poverty alleviation needs and some may never be economical or implementable. Shale gas has the potential, if managed and regulated with diligence and authority, to provide some of the necessary reduction in CO2 while delivering energy to a rapidly growing but carbon-constrained world. Professor Peter Styles, a British geologist and professor of Applied and Environmental Geophysics at Keele University ALTERNATIVE sources of energy can become a satisfactory substitute for fossil fuels if we put as much effort and genius in the effort as we did in producing the first atomic bomb. The most satisfactory single alternative would be hydrogen fusion but that quasi-miracle may be beyond our capability. We may discover that wind, solar, biomass, etc., all piled on top of each other, may have to do, but their success may turn out to require an effort that started a generation ago. Essential to any and all success is the realisation on our part that we may be able to do anything, which includes fail. Alfred W. Crosby, Professor Emeritus of History, Geography, and American Studies at the University of Texas FOR the past four months, natural gas, which is cleaner than coal, has generated the largest share of America’s electricity. But some, including the US Environmental Protection Agency, believe it’s already time to begin replacing natural gas with wind and solar energy. These renewables are growing, but from a very small base, and only with billions of dollars of taxpayer subsidies. Wind and solar have other issues: the wind does not always blow nor the sun shine. So, renewables need backup energy, mostly from natural gas. Instead of relying on government mandates to transform our energy sector, let’s allow the marketplace to work. America’s huge, low-cost supply of natural gas is the product of innovation and entrepreneurship. This American form of problem-solving has produced a market-competitive solution to help us turn the corner on energy costs and emissions which are now at their lowest level for 27 years. No other country has been able to replicate this American success story. Of course, many renewable energy advocates would like to see us abandon market principles altogether. But if we do, we not only drive up energy prices, but slow the pace of innovation. Dr J Winston Porter, former EPA assistant administrator in Washington DC. He is now an energy and environmental consultant, based in Savannah, Georgia, USA FOR more than a year the Task Force on Shale Gas has explored the potential impacts, positive and negative, of creating a shale gas industry in the UK. In December we published our final recommendations. We are convinced that gas is required as part of the UK’s energy mix for the short and medium term. It is simply not feasible to create a renewables industry that can meet all our energy needs in the short term. Gas represents an environmentally cleaner alternative to coal. The adverse climate impact of shale gas is similar to conventional gas and less than LNG. Our conclusion from all the evidence we have gathered over the past year is clear. The risk from shale gas to the local environment or to public health is no greater than that associated with comparable industries provided, as with all industrial works, that operators follow best practice. Lord Chris Smith, Chairman, Task Force on Shale Gas to UK Government THE International Energy Agency sees renewables providing an ever-greater share of the global energy supply, but fossil fuels are not going away soon. In the central scenario of our flagship World Energy Outlook, global energy demand rises about one third by 2040. Renewables will contribute to that surge, to be sure, but so will natural gas: in fact, under all WEO scenarios, gas has at least a one fourth share of global energy in 2040. Shale gas has increased the shift of some electricity generation from coal, and further development of natural gas, along with renewables, is critical to a diverse, secure and sustainable energy supply in the coming decades. Laszlo Varro, Chief Economist, The International Energy Agency THE US experiment with shale gas has shown that, given the right resources and massive drilling efforts, significant amounts of natural gas can be produced. However, it has also shown that production tends to be short-term (wells deplete rapidly), that resources vary greatly in quality (only the ‘sweet spots’ are profitable), that water and air pollution can result from drilling, and that methane leaks erase any climate benefit of shale gas over coal. In contrast, renewable energy resources represent the future of energy – with declining costs and far lower environmental impacts. Richard Heinberg, Senior Fellow, Post Carbon Institute WE want to be very clear: solar cells, wind turbines, and biomass-for-energy plantations can never replace even a small fraction of the highly reliable, 24-hoursa- day, 365-days-a-year, nuclear, fossil, and hydroelectric power stations. Claims to the contrary are popular, but irresponsible. We live in a hydrocarbon-limited world, generate too much CO2, and major hydropower opportunities have been exhausted worldwide. Tad W. Patzek, Chairman of the Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering Department at the University of Texas at Austin PRESIDENT Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan is a regulation designed by the Environmental Protection Agency to reduce US power sector CO2 emissions 32% below 2005 levels. Because each state has a unique energy mix, the Clean Power Plan sets state-specific reduction goals and provides the flexibility to meet them through individual compliance plans. No matter how states choose to implement the plan, it is well understood that natural gas is the most cost-effective way to advance our clean energy goals while ensuring continued economic growth. That is why natural gas will continue to be an essential component of how America produces energy for years to come. In fact, the Energy Information Administration reported that in April power sector carbon emissions had reached the lowest level since 1988. Not coincidentally, April was the first time in history that natural gas overtook coal as the number one fuel source for electricity. America’s National Gas Alliance

    7 minutes read Issue 10
  • The Daily Mile gains ground

    A FORMER headteacher’s vision to get every child in every school in the UK running a mile for fun every day has turned a corner – thanks, in part, to the GO Run For Fun Foundation. Four years ago Elaine Wyllie’s primary school in Stirling, Scotland, was the only UK school running what she christened The Daily Mile. But today her campaign to produce a healthier and leaner generation has been formally endorsed by the Scottish Government for all its primary schools – and more schools from all corners of the UK are signing up every day. “We are working to build a national network and already, we know from social media of hundreds of schools that are picking it up,” said Ursula Heath, Group Communications Officer, who also works with GO Run For Fun Foundation. “We are working with Elaine and our GO Run For Fun network to turn it into a national programme,” said Ursula. “It’s hugely exciting to see this take off, and to know that we are working towards improving the health and wellbeing of the UK’s children for years to come.” Elaine, who is now retired, is working to encourage more headteachers to get involved. “It’s ultimately the headteachers who lead the adoption of The Daily Mile, and Elaine’s stellar teaching CV and passion for her cause inspire others to embrace the initiative,” said Ursula. On March 17, The Daily Mile Foundation was officially launched at Hallfield Primary School in Westminster, London, supported by the GO Run For Fun Foundation. “Our dream is that one day every child in the UK will have the chance to run daily at school,” said Ursula. The immediate hope is that the British Government will also see the benefits of incorporating The Daily Mile into the national school curriculum as a way of helping to tackle the UK’s growing obesity crisis. It is believed one in three children in the UK are now classed as overweight or obese. “We think this campaign can make a huge difference in addressing that problem,” said Ursula. Visit The Daily Mile Website at: www.thedailymile.co.uk. Also follow the campaign on Twitter @thedailymile and Facebook www.facebook.com/thedailymileforschools video

    6 minutes read Issue 10
  • Runaway success

    A WORLDWIDE campaign to get children up and running has found a permanent foothold in America. Reaction to GO Run For Fun’s inaugural events in Texas last year was so positive that the UK-based organisation has set up a dedicated team to host the runs in the US. This year the US team hopes to persuade 10,000 children from 17 schools to take part in one of the 34 runs in the Houston area. “That’s our target but we could easily do 20,000 this year because the demand is there,” said Kathryn Shuler, Manager of Community Relations and Special Projects at INEOS Olefins & Polymers USA. “But this will be our first official year and we need to make sure we can deliver the high-quality programme that everyone expects from GO Run For Fun.” The US team will also be charged taking the campaign to Chicago close to INEOS’ Styrolution and Technologies sites. Almost one in five high school students in Texas are now classed as overweight. But GO Run For Fun is already helping to address that. Karla Klyng, the assistant principal at Alvin Elementary School in Alvin, Texas, told INEOS that 155 children – instead of the expected 65 – joined its Mighty Milers after-school running club after taking part in a GO Run For Fun event last year. “The kids cannot wait to do GO Run For Fun again this year,” she said. GO Run For Fun was founded in the UK by INEOS chairman Jim Ratcliffe, a keen runner himself who wanted to encourage children to run for fun – and get fit at the same time. It has already been making inroads in the UK and mainland Europe where thousands of children have taken part in one of the hundreds of short distance running events. And now America, which knows it has a weight problem, is following in its footsteps. “Fast food restaurants now list calorie counts for their menu items, and there’s focus at the government level that kids need 60 minutes of exercise every day,” said Kathryn. But food is not the only problem weighing heavily on the minds of PE teachers in the US. “They say video games are also a dangerous distraction,” said Kathryn. Mary Meyer, a PE teacher at Longfellow Elementary in Alvin, Texas, told INEOS: “The kids are so used to playing video games that when they go outside to recess they just sit. They don’t even know how to run and play anymore.” But the teams behind what has become the biggest children’s running initiative in the world believe that where there’s a will to succeed, there’s a way. The US campaign has already won an army of inspirational supporters including 1000 metre champion Bernard Lagat, Olympic sprinter Wallace Spearmon and astronaut Mario Runco who took part in three Space Shuttle missions during the nineties. Last year Wallace Spearmon, who is currently the seventh fastest runner in the world, attended several GO Run For Fun events in Texas. He told children how he had twice failed to win a place in his high school track team. “It was only because of my father’s encouragement that I stuck with running and continued to practise,” he said. “It was hard but I worked at it.” Eventually he won a place on the US Olympic team. To ensure the long-term success of the US GO Run For Fun campaign, it too has set up a charitable foundation. The key initiative of the INEOS ICAN Foundation, which is a volunteer organisation for fitness and community outreach, will be GO Run For Fun but the Foundation will also facilitate INEOS Olefins & Polymers USA’s annual employee-driven, fund-raising golf tournament and provide grants for schools to extend the teaching of science, technology, engineering and maths in their classrooms. The Houston Marathon Foundation is already an official supporter, along with Houston’s professional womens’ soccer team, the Houston Dash, which has sent insprirational ambassadors to the events so far this Spring. “That way we can show kids that running is not only an inexpensive and fun activity on its own, but it’s also an integral part of so many great sports,” said Kathryn. Many parents are also excited to help the campaign. “Unfortunately some of our target schools don’t have as many parent volunteers as others,” said Kathryn. “And many of those are in areas where parents work more than one job to make ends meet. But it’s really important to help all parents understand the need to support good exercise habits in these areas.” To help drive home the message about the benefits of running and exercise to the body and soul, INEOS will be producing informative leaflets printed in English and Spanish. Events will be delivered to 17 public elementary schools in the the Alvin, Clear Lake and La Porte school districts this year, with 9 days of runs having already taken place in the Alvin School District this April. But INEOS is already looking to the future, and has set its heart on attracting 15,000 children by 2017 and 20,000 by 2018. And with a team as passionate as it is, that should be easily achieved. “I’m very excited about the opportunity to help motivate kids to be more physically active,” said Dennis Seith, CEO INEOS Olefins & Polymers USA. “Healthy, active kids tend to be better engaged, and more successful in school,” he said. “Being active in athletic activities also teaches the values of teamwork, accountability, fair play, and a drive for doing your best.” One who seconds that is GO Run For Fun ambassador Bernard Lagat. “Running has provided me with a fantastic opportunity to travel the world,” he said. “But this campaign is more than just a fun run. It teaches children the importance of a healthy lifestyle.”   video  

    7 minutes read Issue 10
  • Youth culture

    AS supporters go, INEOS is in a league of its own. But that’s not INEOS’ verdict; it’s the word on the ground where INEOS does so much to help develop a healthy interest in sport, particularly among the young. And it’s in any sport. Ice hockey. Football. Rugby. Running. And, seemingly, in every country where it does business. The US, the UK, Germany, France, Switzerland and Belgium. “INEOS revolutionised our club,” said Sacha Weibel, Chief Executive Officer of Lausanne Hockey Club. “We are now in the first division and one of the top 10 teams in the country.” INEOS approached the club in 2010 – the year it uprooted 80 families and moved its headquarters from the UK to Rolle in Switzerland. “They wanted to be a part of the community, which was wonderful,” said Sacha. “We wish more people thought like that.” But it wasn’t just financial support on offer. “INEOS wanted to be totally involved,” said Sacha. That meant regularly attending matches at the 8,000-seater stadium – and staging their own friendlies before the club’s official games. Are they any good? “No, they are terrible,” he said with a smile. “But it is to be expected. Kids here skate as soon as they can walk.” Ice hockey is the biggest spectator sport in Switzerland and one of the most difficult sports to master. You not only need to be able to skate well, which takes skill, but competitors also need to be able to run, shoot, pass and block shots at high speed. INEOS may not cut it on the ice, but off it, the company’s support has proved invaluable. “It really helped us to transform the whole company,” said Sacha. Over the past four years the club has enjoyed a spectacular comeback and now competes in the top tier of Swiss hockey. And season after season, it gets better. “It really is inspirational working with INEOS,” said Sacha. “Their way of working rubs off on us all.” Of course, that’s not all. As a company, it also produces the raw, building block chemicals that can be found in hockey helmets, sticks and keep ice rinks cold. INEOS is also a big supporter of sports clubs where its own staff – or employees’ children – spend their spare time, training, coaching or playing. “We are always proud of our employees who actively get involved in clubs to help other people,” said Dr Anne-Gret Iturriaga Abarzua, head of the communications department at INEOS Koln. In January the site teamed up with one of Germany’s biggest athletic clubs. Part of its work with ASV Cologne will be to organise the GO Run For Fun events in June. The INEOS-inspired GO Run For Fun is now a global running campaign. Over 1,000 schools across the UK, mainland Europe and the US have hosted a 2km fun run thanks to INEOS’ initial investment of £1.5 million (€1.9m, $2.5m). And that work – to instil a healthy approach to exercise and nutrition – goes on. Anne-Gret said INEOS financially supported countless sports clubs for children close to the Koln site. “INEOS likes to support those with a desire to lend a hand in the community,” she said. One who is out there in all weathers is Bill Faulds, who manages the Under 16s Falkirk rugby team in Scotland, UK. The Infrastructure Technical Manager at INEOS’ Grangemouth site has been involved with the club since he was a student in 1985 and spends up to three nights a week coaching the youngsters. “It is so rewarding to see children develop their skills and confidence,” he said. “And INEOS has been very supportive with an annual grant, which matched my time. Their support meant we could buy training gear.” INEOS will always find ways to support those who champion sport and understand how important it is to the development of young people. Or as former US president John F Kennedy put it: ‘Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity.’

    5 minutes read Issue 10
  • PLAYMOBIL figures INEOS’ solution is the best

    GERMANY’S biggest toymaker PLAYMOBIL figured INEOS could help – and they were right. The company needed a hard-wearing, flexible material for three new special characters – an ice dragon, a transparent pink robot and a pirate. PLAYMOBIL knew what INEOS could do because they have worked with the company for years. But this time they needed a material that was tough, easy to mould and transparent. INEOS Styrolution, the global leader in styrenics, suggested Zylar, one of its specialty chemicals – and the match was perfect. “They were demanding requirements but we have always aimed to find the right solution, no matter who the customer is,” said Julia Herzog, Marketing Communications Manager. PLAYMOBIL characters first appeared on the scene in 1974. At that time there were just three of them – a construction worker in stripy bib, a knight with a silver helmet and an American Indian with a feather in his hair. Since then, about 4,000 different designs have come off the production lines in Malta and almost 3 billion plastic figures have been made. “Zylar has become more and more a material of choice for toys,” said Peter Rath, Director Sales Construction, Distribution, Compounding & Others, INEOS Styrolution. “Without plastics many toys and all kinds of sporting gear wouldn’t exist.” He said INEOS felt honoured to work with such an iconic toymaker. Zylar is currently used for medical devices but can be found in a multitude of household applications including water filters or coffee machine water containers.

    1 minute read Issue 10
  • INEOS buys factory on Spanish coast

    INEOS has bought a sulphuric acid factory at one of the most important logistics centres in Europe. The acquisition of the plant in Bilbao, Spain, complements INEOS’ existing sulphur chemicals business in Runcorn in the UK and effectively doubles its production capacity. Sulphuric acid is one of the most important, basic compounds manufactured by the chemical industry. It is used to make, literally, hundreds of compounds needed by almost every industrial sector including fertilisers, detergents, water treatment and batteries. “In days of old, sulphuric acid consumption was a measure of a country’s GDP,” said Ashley Reed, CEO INEOS Enterprises. “Demand was very much linked to the economic health of a country.” That may also be true today. Last year Spain was the second fastest growing economy in Europe with GDP growth of 3.2% and the International Monetary Fund believes Spain’s recovery will continue. “That is good news for us and should provide a strong platform for sales growth in the local markets,” said Ashley. The Spanish plant, which makes about 340,000 metric tonnes of sulphuric acid every year, is one of the most modern in Europe and is close to the Bilbao Refinery which supplies most of the plant’s key raw material, sulphur. “Sulphur is often an unwanted by-product in the production of refinery products so it is a way for them to dispose of it,” said Ashley. About 25% of the plant’s revenue comes from cogeneration of electricity which is produced through burning sulphur in air. Electricity prices in Spain are amongst the highest in the world and under new Spanish legislation to encourage renewable energy production, the Spanish government will underwrite the electricity prices for the business for the next 25 years. “That was one of the reasons why INEOS was interested in the plant,” said Ashley. The plant is strategically located in Bilbao port which makes it ideally poised to export around the world. “There is no other sulphuric acid producer within 400km of the port,” said Ashley. “And because transport costs make up a major proportion of the sulphuric acid price, having the right location is vital for the success of a sulphur chemicals business.”

    2 minutes read Issue 10
  • INEOS decides to go it alone

    A JOINT venture between INEOS and Solvay is to end later this year – two years ahead of schedule. The two companies have achieved so much since they formed INOVYN in July 2015 that Solvay has agreed to leave INEOS in control of the 3.5 billion Euro business. “Thanks to the fast and efficient integration of its teams and assets, INOVYN is now a sound and sustainable chlorvinyls player,” said Jean-Pierre Clamadieu, CEO of Solvay. Belgian company Solvay had always intended to leave INEOS as sole owner of the business but that had originally been planned for July 2018. INEOS chairman Jim Ratcliffe said INEOS was comfortable with the early exit. “Chlorvinyls businesses are core to large petrochemicals companies such as ours,” he said. “And through this planned acquisition INOVYN will have an owner with a long-term vision that provides stability for its business and employees.” The two companies’ decision to merge their chlorvinyls businesses in 2015 created a winning combination. It turned newly-named INOVYN into one of the top three PVC producers in the world and meant the business was well placed to respond rapidly to changing European markets. INOVYN, which is headquartered in London, employs 4,300 people at 18 manufacturing sites in eight countries. Every year it manufactures 40 million tonnes of chemicals which find use in almost every aspect of modern life, keeping people housed, healthy and connected.

    1 minute read Issue 10
  • Business profile: INEOS Breagh Unchartered Waters

    It’s exciting times at INEOS – both onshore and offshore – as INCH discovered during a conversation with Geir Tuft, CEO of the company’s new oil and gas business INEOS Breagh MANY people wonder why INEOS is getting involved in oil & gas exploration. Questions are being asked as it steers its business out into the North Sea at a time when others are leaving. But it is confident it can be the change the oil and gas industry needs to turn around ageing assets deemed unprofitable and unfit for the job. So too is Geir Tuft, the man head-hunted to lead INEOS’ new offshore gas business INEOS Breagh which operates four platforms in the North Sea and owns interest in 16 exploration licences. INCH caught up with Geir shortly after he moved into his new office in London as CEO of INEOS’ new gas subsidiary. “I do not know where this journey will ultimately take me or INEOS but we are capable of making a big difference in the North Sea,” he said. “We are not in this for the short-term.” In October INEOS bought all 12 UK North Sea gas fields owned by German firm DEA, which is part of the LetterOne Group. All the gas fields are close to INEOS’ assets in the North East and Scotland and provide about 8% of the UK’s gas, enough to warm one in 10 homes. “That’s not insignificant and I think about that when I go home each day, knowing that I have got control over this,” said Geir. Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman had been required to sell them by the British Government amid fears of sanctions against Moscow over Russia’s role in the Ukraine. A few days after INEOS had agreed to buy DEA (UK), which included Clipper South platform, Fairfield Energy Holdings Ltd sold its 25% interest in the Clipper South, bringing 75% of it under INEOS’ control. Fairfield said it wanted to concentrate on decommissioning. But INEOS’ interest in acquiring more North Sea gas fields is unlikely to end here. “Virtually everything in the North Sea is for sale,” said Geir. “And we are the only buyers in a sea of sellers.” In many ways these are unchartered waters for INEOS, but it classes itself as a ‘relative’. “Although INEOS is a new entrant to the North Sea, the company has extensive experience in operating chemical plants of similar or greater complexity to these offshore platforms,” said Geir. “Our core focus on Safety Health and Environmental performance, reliability, high utilisation and competitive cash fixed costs, are attributes the mature North Sea needs to extend the life of assets and extract as much hydrocarbons as possible. We believe we can take these assets and improve their reliability and invest where the money is needed.” The problems facing the UK oil and gas industry, which has been drilling for oil and gas in the North Sea since 1964, have been well documented. In 2014 Pricewaterhouse Coopers was warning that a new vision and new ways of working were urgently needed to cement its position as a global oil and gas hub. “It’s vital that we take a more strategic and integrated view to help extend the life of the North Sea for everyone involved and for future generations,” said Kevin Reynard, PwC’s senior partner in Aberdeen. “If we choose not to change, then we risk sleep-walking into an early sunset.” Those views were echoed in June 2015 when it again urged oil and gas firms to heed lessons from other UK industries which had been forced to change or die. “There is no escaping the fact that exploration and production is down on previous years” said Kevin. “The stark reality is that even if all the planned wells go ahead, the rate of drilling is still too low to recover even a fraction of the potential resources.” PwC called for a step change in strategy. “Businesses need to innovate and collaborate as well as improve cost control and performance,” he said. The UK Government has also been urging the industry since early 2014 to reduce operating costs, improve efficiency, exploit untapped reserves and spend more money on exploration. “Our experience will be invaluable in this environment,” said Geir. “In fact we have extensive experience in acquiring, improving and managing assets deemed unprofitable. If any company on this planet can do it, it is INEOS.” It is estimated that there are between 30 to 40 years of production – and an estimated 24 billion barrels of oil – remaining but the Office for Budget Responsibility predicts a 38% fall in oil revenue by 2017-2018. To help boost ‘flagging’ North Sea production by 15% by the end of the decade, UK Chancellor George Osborne recently unveiled measures worth £1.3 billion over five years and also plans to partially fund new exploration work to help increase the region’s reserves. The oil and gas industry knows it needs to reduce operating costs by billions and increase production efficiency if it is to remain competitive. The high cost of running these assets was brutally exposed when oil prices suddenly dropped from $110 a barrel to $60 then again to below $40 at the end of the year (2015). Geir, who has spent the past three years at INEOS’ Grangemouth site, is excited by what 2016 will bring. “First we need to fully understand the business,” he said. “At the moment I feel as if I have one foot on firm ground because of what INEOS has already achieved and one foot in a dingy, where we have to be careful and learn because there is an element of this which is all new to us with exploration and sub-surface, geology and seismology.” But by late January (2016), he will have a robust plan for growing the business to present to INEOS Capital. The staff, who came with the sale of the LetterOne Group, are also optimistic about the future. “After all the uncertainty there is a real sense of relief,” he said. “There is a very positive anticipation because they know we want to operate and develop the asset. We are in it for the long-term.” One who agrees with that is Adrian Coker, Head of Exploration and New Business at INEOS Breagh. We have effectively been through a two-year sale process,” he said. “First to LetterOne and then a forced onward sale to INEOS so we are quite pleased that we can finally move on and get back to business as normal.” INEOS Chairman Jim Ratcliffe has already met the team. “He is going against the current to a lot of people who are leaving the North Sea, but there are some good wins here to be had by someone with an entrepreneurial take on things,” said Adrian. The existing, highly-experienced management team at DEA’s UK business will stay in place and run the business in a similar way to all INEOS’ other businesses. “There won’t be a great deal of interference from head office,” said Jim. “It will be in its own independent box and the management will be charged with running that business.” For INEOS, this is a very bold step into a new world but depending upon how this venture develops, it has the potential to transform the business in the way that INEOS’ acquisition of INNOVENE did in 2005. video

    7 minutes read Issue 9
  • The $9 Billion deal

    The acquisition of gas fields in the North Sea marks a significant moment in INEOS’ history. But it is not the first time INEOS has seemingly achieved the impossible. Ten years ago it raised a cool $9 billion to buy BP’s massive chemicals business INNOVENE. It was a transformational deal that changed the face of INEOS overnight. THE year was 2005. The world feared it was on the verge of a bird flu pandemic as cases spread from Asia to Europe, millions mourned the death of Pope John Paul II and Saddam Hussein went on trial. INEOS was doing well. It was turning over $8 billion a year and employed 7,500 people at 20 sites around the world. But INEOS Capital had bigger ambitions, it was looking to invest. BP was planning to float its massive chemicals business, INNOVENE, on the New York Stock Market. But INEOS convinced the management team to sell the olefins and derivatives and refining subsidiary to it instead for $9 billion. It was a colossal bet and a deal was agreed without even visiting many of the sites. But that bold step propelled INEOS into the big league of global petrochemical companies. INNOVENE had 8,000 staff and 26 manufacturing sites in America, Canada, the UK, France, Belgium, Germany and Italy. “The deal vaulted INEOS, which then had an exceptionally low profile, into the top tier of global chemical companies,” said Patricia Short, a journalist at Chemical & Engineering News. Following the acquisition the combined businesses had a turnover of more than $30 billion, making INEOS the world’s fourth largest petrochemicals company. Jim Ratcliffe described the deal – BP’s biggest-ever divestment – as a ‘transformational acquisition.’ Overnight his company had more than doubled in size. The acquisition, which included the Lavéra and Grangemouth refineries, filled out INEOS’ ethylene and propylene derivative portfolio. David Anderson, President of the Chemical Market Resources Inc, a Houston-based consulting firm, remembers the deal well. “This was a little company taking on the big guys,” he said. “It was the guppy swallowing the whale. No one thought it might not work out. But it was whether or not the INEOS team could assimilate all the parts into a cohesive operating entity.” It could have gone horribly wrong. But it didn’t. INEOS after all had become accustomed to snapping up unwanted commodity businesses from the likes of ICI, BASF as well as BP, as these chemical giants restructured their own businesses. If any company on the planet could do it, it was INEOS. All INEOS asked itself was whether it could double the earnings (EBITDA) of the businesses it acquired over five years. That wasn’t quite the view from those working for INNOVENE at the time. Bob Sokol, now Chief Financial Officer of C2 Derivatives, had heard about INEOS but viewed it as a small European-focused chemical company. “I never thought of it as a company which could pull off a $9 billion INNOVENE acquisition,” he said. He said staff at INNOVENE were aware that changes were coming. “Employees were operating in a cloud of uncertainty but that uncertainty shifted from going public to being acquired by a largely unknown chemical company on the back of 100% debt finance” he said. Dennis Seith, now Chief Executive Officer of INEOS O&P USA, had been part of the management team selected by BP to establish INNOVENE. “I had never heard of INEOS and it definitely was not a household name to most in the US and INNOVENE,” he said. But he said the enormous pace of change following the acquisition left little time for employees to worry that a little company had just acquired a giant in the chemical world. “The fear of the unknown is always a bit unsettling, but we had a job to do and the work was so intense there was not a lot of time to stress about what was happening,” he said. “I just remember it being both exhilarating and unnerving. We had a chance to remove bureaucracy, try out ideas, be entrepreneurial and take on accountability for the success or failure in the business.” With the deal, INEOS inherited an executive team of 12. Within a year only one of them was left. “That was me,” said Dennis. “There were very few layers left in the business and responsibility was thrust upon those willing to take it. Many were not comfortable with the downsizing and reduction of overheads or approach to entrepreneurial accountability in a private sector company.” BP had grown into a very slow-moving, bureaucratic organisation obsessed with multiple peer reviews it became plagued by indecisiveness. Under INEOS, delegations were tightened and decisions taken at all levels. Corporate spending was reined back. Capital spending was much more tightly controlled. Staff were asked to cut costs by at least 25%. Management began to instil a new culture where employees were asked to ‘act like owners’ in the business where costs and decisions mattered to its future. “We became truly focused and developed the vision that we still have for the business today,” said Dennis. He believed – and still believes – that the takeover was the best thing that ever happened. “BP chemicals was a good business but it had clearly had lost its way with a heavily matrixed operation,” he said. “INEOS gave us the opportunity to truly lead a business and work with very talented people towards common goals. Every employee’s effort matters and makes a difference. We have only been limited by our own creativity and how we choose to prioritise our resources.” Joe Walton, now Business Director of INEOS Oligomers, also worked at BP INNOVENE. “A number of my BP colleagues were very worried about leaving the perceived stability of a major company like BP for a leveraged company like INEOS,” he said. “However, if you look back 10 years at the history of INEOS versus BP that was a misguided view.” At BP, Joe had been responsible for the global business optimisation of the LAO and PAO business only. After the takeover, his remit increased and he was given global responsibility for the Oligomers business management, sales and technology. “A lot of my customers wanted to know what it was like to work for INEOS instead of BP,” he said. “I used to tell them that as a business manager in BP, I spent 60% of my time managing my business and 40% answering questions from central functioning groups that did not add value. In INEOS I spend more than 90% of my time actively managing the business.” Just weeks after the takeover, INEOS created seven new businesses covering refining, olefins, polyolefins, olefins and polymers in the US, nitriles, technologies and oligomers. INNOVENE no longer existed. It was now INEOS Nitriles, INEOS Olefins and INEOS Polyolefins in Europe, INEOS Olefins & Polymers USA, INEOS Oligomers, INEOS Refining and INEOS Technologies each with their own focused team. That same year Jim was named Britain’s top entrepreneur by Management Today, ahead of Carphone Warehouse’s Charles Dunstone and Simon Nixon, founder of Moneysupermarket.com. The business publication described Ratcliffe as ‘the chemical industry’s answer to steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal’. In the first 10 years, INEOS made more than 20 acquisitions. But the INNOVENE deal will always be the one that changed the face of INEOS forever. Looking to the future, though, you cannot help but feel that the acquisition of gas fields in the North Sea could very well have a very similar effect.

    7 minutes read Issue 9
  • Flying start

    IT was a chance to help students on the University of Liverpool Velocipede Team to build the fastest bicycle in the world – and INEOS wasn’t about to let an opportunity like that slip away. As the engineering students from the University of Liverpool in the UK worked quietly on their speed bike ARION1, INEOS was ready to fly them and their incredible vehicle, to America for the World Human Powered Speed Challenge. “I knew it was something that INEOS would be interested in supporting because it combined sport, engineering, entrepreneurial spirit and a small team with limited experience prepared to take on the world,” said Iain Hogan, CEO of INEOS O&P South. “The students had enough sponsorship to get the bike designed and built but initially, they didn’t want our help because they weren’t sure they had a vehicle that could take on the record.” But the more tests done at Bruntingthorpe Proving Ground, the more the 16 students, including team leader, Iain’s son Ben, realised it might just be humanly possible to break the world record of 83.13 mph, and so to INEOS they turned. What the students desperately needed was a company with the knowledge and experience to transport the bicycle and the whole team to the middle of the Nevada desert and back again. “Without the support of INEOS the team would not have made it to the competition,” said Ben. “INEOS took charge of arranging the logistics of getting our enormous flight case, which looks more like a small caravan, all the way from our home in Liverpool to the middle of the desert – and back again safely. It was vital our flight case, which contained the bicycle and all our tools, arrived on time and intact. We really needed a company that knew what they were doing.” David Thompson, Chief Operating Officer of INEOS Trading and Shipping, was the man called upon to help the team. His team imports and exports materials to and from the USA every day of the week. “It could have been a logistical nightmare,” he said. “But we knew how to handle US and European customs to make sure the bike, and all the spares and maintenance equipment, could enter the US without delay, and then reverse the process back into Europe.” In tests, the ARION 1 land speed vehicle, which is encased in a carbon fibre shell to help it slice through the air, had topped speeds of more than 50mph. “Carbon fibre composite was the ideal material for fabricating the vehicle because you can mould it to almost any shape that you want,” said Ben. “So we did.” The rider sees where they are going using a tiny video camera mounted of top of the capsule, which makes piloting it particularly difficult. “You’d have to imagine driving a motorcycle looking through your mobile phone,” said Ben. “And with nothing but that to show them the outside world and no ventilation, it can be claustrophobic. Thankfully the rider is only in there for about seven minutes so it is bearable.” But despite the £150,000 cost of the bicycle, it’s not a comfortable ride. “Inside it is extremely noisy and sounds a bit like a jet engine,” said Ben. “All the sounds from the chain and the wheels reverberate inside the shell. A lot of the time we had problems hearing our rider over the radio.” The bike had six gears, similar to a normal bike, only much larger, “The front chain ring had 104 teeth” said Ben. But the ARION1 rider changed gear only when the bike told him to. The team had worked on perfecting their bicycle for almost two years. “It became an obsession,” said Ben. “The team didn’t bother taking a summer break this year. We stayed at university and worked seven days a week to get it finished.” The world human-powered vehicle challenge takes place every year on Route 305 – a five-mile stretch of road in the middle of the Nevada desert. Teams from all over the world enter vehicles they have designed and built themselves. Speeding up in an attempt to go the fastest is only one thing, though. Slowing down is quite another. “It’s not very easy to slow down after reaching speeds of 75mph,” said Ben. “At the end of the course is a one-mile stretch of track left to stop the bike. And as the rider is unable to stay upright once the bike stops, the team has to catch the bike while it is still moving. That, in itself, takes some skill.” Although the British team did not break the world speed record, their two riders smashed the 13-year old UK land speed record three times. Ken Buckley was first to do it. He clocked 69.7mph, then fellow rider David Collins, a PhD student, notched up 70.6mph, only for Ken to hit 75.03mph – and, in the process, generate enough energy to boil a kettle. “Breaking the British record by nearly 8mph is no mean feat,” said Ben. What was particularly impressive about Ken’s record-breaking run is that he notched up 75mph just 15 hours after a nasty crash at 55mph when a sudden gust of wind and an unexpected bump in the road caused him to lose control of the bike. “Wind and weather are two big hazards,” said Ben. “With such a long course the wind can blow in totally different directions and that can catch the rider by surprise. If Ken had said he wanted to stop then, we would have understood it but he was determined to try again.” And determination is one of the reasons he was selected from the many hopefuls. The riders also needed an excellent sense of balance while lying down. “Essentially you have to learn to ride a bike again because it is so different,” said Robert McKenzie, who has now taken over the project following Ben’s graduation. And the riders needed courage. “It is dark and claustrophobic in the bike and furthermore you are taped in and expected to pedal as fast as you can,” he said. Thankfully Ken was unhurt in the crash but the exterior shell and steering were damaged which meant the UK team had to work through the night to make it possible for their riders to attempt breaking records again. Although the British team were unable to match the Canadian team, whose co-designer and rider Todd Reichert set a new world record of 85.71 mph, they have got their sights set on it next year. ARION 2 will be smaller, lighter and more stable. “We have got the British record at our first ever attempt and if one day we get to bring the world record back to Britain that would be incredible,” said Ken. And INEOS will be there again to support that second attempt. Video

    6 minutes read Issue 9
  • Elements of danger

    What drives someone to want to be the best in the world? INCH spoke to Steve Nash, a chartered electrical engineer who works at INEOS’ Runcorn site in the UK. He has been reaching for the stars for years   IT was an experience like no other. As Steve Nash paraglided over the 8,130ft (2,478m) Nufenen pass in Switzerland, he got caught up in turbulent glacial air. “I was losing height so fast that I thought I had been disconnected from the paraglider,” he said. “It was like flying in a raging waterfall.” As he hurtled towards the ground at eight metres per second, he battled to regain control of his collapsing paraglider and keep his cool. “Thankfully I had been trained to get out of a situation like that,” he said. “But I was still incredibly relieved to stand on solid ground again after that flight.” But that brush with near disaster didn’t stop him from waking at 5am the next day to continue his epic journey across the Alps. And that’s the point. That’s what separates life’s great achievers from the rest, or, in the words, of the man who conquered Everest, Sir Edmund Hillary: “It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.” Steve was competing in the one of the toughest races in the world, The Red Bull X-Alps. Competitors – and every two years there are only about 32 international paragliders brave and fit enough to take it on – can face torrential rain, turbulence, storms, fierce headwinds, white-outs, and freezing temperatures as they hike, run and fly from Salzburg in Austria to Monaco via Germany, Italy, Switzerland and France. There is no set route. Athletes must pass 10 ‘checkpoints’, mostly iconic mountains, but they can decide how to get there. This year’s race was won by Swiss paragliding legend Christian Maurer who landed in Monaco eight days four hours and 37 minutes after setting off from Mozartplatz in Salzburg. It was the fourth time he had won the competition. forty-eight hours later, the race officially ended with Steve, the only Brit and at 52, the oldest in the competition, just 178km away. “For me it had been a unique opportunity to pitch myself against the very best pilots in the world,” he said. After being selected in October 2014, Steve had sought advice from fitness experts, nutritionists, and those who had already done it. “Anyone who competes, at whatever level, wants to perform at their very best,” he said. But it’s not just a head for heights that are needed. “The real dangers are all related to the weather,” said Steve. “Rough turbulence from thermals can collapse the fabric wings and massive cumulonimbus clouds are so dangerous that passenger plans avoid flying near them.” What sets competitors apart is the ability to fly in conditions that most paraglide pilots would never consider safe. “The real top pilots in the world are experts at using adverse weather and making the very best of it,” said Steve. “And that matters because almost all the race is won in the air.” Steve last competed in the race four years ago but was eliminated after he flew eight metres into forbidden air space around Locarno Airport. “I’d never flown into restricted airspace before, but pushing yourself to physical and mental limits means the ability for clear thinking is impaired,” he said. This year he had no intention of making the same mistake twice. And he didn’t. On a good day, he was literally flying, clocking more than 130kms in the air and 70km on foot. On a bad one, he was forced to run or hike with a 9kg back pack. “The worst flying day was from Zermatt, where very difficult flying conditions from strong winds meant I actually went backwards on the course line to Monaco,” he said. The Red Bull X-Alps does take its toll on the body with lack of sleep leading to fatigue. “I remember being asked what I wanted to eat and I couldn’t process the question,” he said. He also lost about 5% of his body weight, despite consuming 4,500 calories a day. Competitors are allowed to hike between 5am and 10.30pm and fly between 6am and 9pm. “Several times I launched from very high mountains at 6am on the dot,” he said. One of the unique aspects of the race is that spectators can track the athletes’ every move online. That would have included Steve’s unexpected landing on someone’s garden lawn near the Swiss/French border. “The owner came out of his chalet to check I was okay and needed a drink,” he said. Steve began paragliding in North Wales in 1990 where the highest peak is just 3,560ft (1,085m). “For me, paragliding is about freedom,” he said. “You can travel more than 100km with no idea where you might land or how you are going to get back to your starting place.” He keeps fit by running and cycling from his home to work at INEOS’ Runcorn site most days. As an employer INEOS understood what drove him and granted unpaid leave so he could train in Brazil, in the winter and spend two months in the Alps in the run-up to the race. “Not many employers would allow you that flexibility,” he said. “But INEOS believes that keeping fit benefits all because fit employees are less likely to fall ill.” So does he want to compete again in 2017? “Absolutely,” he says. “This race has captured the imagination of every pilot who has ever dreamed about crossing a range of mountains as stunning as the Alps. It is simply like no other endurance competition. And having tried twice and got very close this time, I can’t help thinking third time lucky.” video www.redbullxalps.com www.redbullxalps.com/athletes/profile/steve-nash

    6 minutes read Issue 9
  • INEOS gets a licence to explore the UK for shale gas

    INEOS is now the biggest player in the UK shale gas industry. fast work for a company that only started exploring its options in 2014 INEOS has been granted permission by the UK Government to explore huge swathes of England for shale gas. The announcement by the Department of Energy and Climate Change means INEOS now has licences to explore one million acres of potential shale gas reserves. “We are now the biggest player in the UK shale gas industry and are clearly seen as a safe pair of hands,” said Gary Haywood, CEO of INEOS Shale. Britain is currently one of the most expensive places in the world to make petrochemicals. But INEOS believes an indigenous shale gas industry has the power to revolutionise manufacturing in Britain, give the UK energy security for the first time in many years, and create thousands of jobs. “We have seen at first-hand what it has done for the US economy,” said Gary. “Shale gas is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that the UK cannot afford to miss. North Sea oil created great wealth for the UK and shale gas can do the same.” Most of the 21 licences – awarded to INEOS this month (December) – are in places with either a mining or industrial heritage. Areas include land close to its plants in Runcorn, Hull and Newton Aycliffe. “We are delighted that the UK Government is determined to move forward with this exciting new industry,” said INEOS Chairman Jim Ratcliffe. INEOS Shale is INEOS’ on shore oil and gas exploration and production business. The business made its first move into the shale exploration arena in August 2014 when it bought a share of a Petroleum Exploration and Development Licence from Dart Energy. Since then it has grown rapidly. In March 2015 it struck a deal with IGas, which gave it access to almost a quarter of a million acres of potential shale gas reserves in Scotland. That was quickly followed by Government approval to explore parts of the East Midlands for shale. But it’s the latest announcement – the awarding of a further 21 licences – which has delighted the INEOS team. “To be awarded so many licences supports our belief that we are the right company to extract shale gas in the UK,” said Gary. “Shale gas is not about short-term speculation for us. It is about securing our manufacturing base which provides thousands of jobs in regional economies many in the North of England and Scotland.” INEOS’ decision, though, to pursue shale gas exploration in the UK has, unsurprisingly, set it on a collision course with environmentalists and protest groups. Opponents of fracking claim it is dangerous and disruptive, triggers earthquakes, contaminates drinking water and the air we breathe. Supporters say – done properly – it is safe, provides countries with a valuable domestic resource, creates jobs, underpins manufacturing and will help to cut carbon emissions by displacing coal, which emits twice as much CO2 compared to gas. Earlier this year (2015) INEOS met local residents, as part of a concerted effort to explain the facts around shale gas development, and answer any questions posed by people in the Scottish local communities living or working in one of our licence areas. “There will always be a hard core of opponents who are philosophically opposed to fossil fuel development, despite shale gas having only half the carbon footprint of coal,” said Gary. “However, many local residents fear shale development for more local reasons – and these are the people INEOS wants to address, to reassure them of the impacts of shale development. We believe that most people are open-minded about shale development, but want more information.” He added: “Reassuring people that the industry can operate responsibly, without long-term damage to the environment or their way of life is critical. It is also vitally important to make the case for why shale gas development is beneficial for communities, and for the country.” INEOS has committed to fully consult all local communities and will share 6% of revenues with homeowners, landowners and communities close to its shale gas wells* “We have the vision to realise that communities must share in the rewards for it to be successfully developed,” said Jim. Working exclusively with INEOS in Europe are the world-leading pioneers who led the development of the first commercial shale play in the US, the Barnett Shale. Petroleum engineer Nick Steinsberger and geologists Kent Bowker and Dan Steward have more than 20 years of industry experience. “They have drilled thousands of shale wells without encountering any major issues and are advising INEOS on how best to safely access Britain’s vast reserves,” said Gary. And unlike many exploration companies, INEOS can use shale gas as both a feedstock and a power source. That means shale gas could also help to underpin the competitiveness of INEOS’ manufacturing sites across the UK for years to come.   *4% to homeowners and landowners directly above wells and 2% to the wider communities.

    5 minutes read Issue 9
  • Iron will

    Abraham Lincoln said if you wanted to test a man’s character, give him power. Sport is another equally important judge, as INCH discovered. THE road to becoming a champion is paved with great sacrifices. But that’s very often the view of someone looking in from the outside. American Bart Connor, one of the greatest gymnasts ever to compete in the Olympics, never saw any of it as a sacrifice. “It was just choices,” he said. “I never felt that I was missing something, only that I chose something else.” And Olympian Josh Davis, who made history in 1996 by becoming the only man in any sport from any nation at the Atlanta Olympic Games to win three gold medals, said the only thing that he gave up was mediocrity. Eleanor Haresign, daughter of INEOS’ Cliff Haresign, understands that mindset. She won her first iron distance event – a 1.9k swim, 90k bike ride and 21k run – at her second attempt when she was 35. “What is a sacrifice to some isn’t a sacrifice to others,” she said. “There are plenty of early mornings, early nights, missed social events, worrying whether you might catch a cold, and feeling exhausted and unsociable. But the feeling of winning or doing well makes everything worthwhile, and it keeps you going back for more.” In short, you have to want to be the best. “You have to ask yourself how badly you want it because even the professional athletes are hurting,” she said. “It often helps to remember that there are many people who don’t have a choice in their lives about suffering pain. I am lucky that I can race hard and embrace the pain, and transcend the limits of what I thought was possible.” But she said it took more than just desire. “There are certain characteristics that are needed to become the best and not everyone will be prepared to accept them. To win, you need to excel physically, but only being physically strong is not sufficient to be a winner. You must delve deep into your mental reserves to override the physiological ‘symptoms’ regarding fatigue or pain.” To beat the best, you need to be more focused, fitter, organised and more prepared. You need willpower, determination, discipline, dedication and drive. For those, like Eleanor, who also have to work part-time to make ends meet, you also need to be able to manage your time effectively. “People sometimes wonder how I juggle work, life and training, and complain that they don’t have enough time to do any sport but I don’t believe that,” said Eleanor, an environmental consultant. “You just have to find ways to incorporate it into your life. What separates a professional sports person from those at a recreational level, aside from talent, is the willingness to integrate it into every aspect of their lives. It’s not just the training. It’s the nutrition choices, looking after your immune system, sleeping enough, stretching enough. Everything you do outside of training is still evaluated in its impact or contribution to your sporting success.” Eleanor’s next goal is to qualify for the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii in 2016. To do that, she will need to complete three Ironman events and two half Ironman races over the next 10 months to accrue enough points to rank within the top 35 in the world. Ironman is a challenge designed for the best of the best and has become triathlon’s most iconic, endurance event. In all, about 3,000 athletes from all over the world will line up to swim 2.4 miles (3.86 k), cycle 112 miles (180k) and then run a 26.2-mile marathon (42k) without a break. Eleanor’s dad Cliff said he and his wife Carolyn would do as much as they could to support their daughter from the sidelines. “We started to realise this was turning into something more serious for Eleanor when she started to earn podium places,” he said. “No one undertakes these events lightly. Even completing these races demands great mental strength so it is hard for me even to imagine what it must take to win one.” Eleanor, who completed her first triathlon on a mountain bike with a pannier rack near St Andrews in Scotland, knows. She now enters races as a professional. “Triathlon does demand as much mental stamina as it does physical strength but that is what keeps me going back to the start lime,” she said. “But while Ironman events are rather demanding on the body, it also makes you supremely aware of what you can do to have a healthy lifestyle. You simply cannot ask your body to perform if you don’t pay attention to your diet, sleep and immune system.” Although fiercely competitive, there is much camaraderie amongst the athletes and a real appreciation and respect for one another. “You see a very special side of the human spirit out there on the race course,” said Eleanor.   Charlie goes the distance ONE person who knows how tough an Ironman event can be is INEOS GO Run For Fun ambassador Charlie Webster. The British TV sports presenter completed her first-ever full Ironman triathlon – Ironman UK – in six hours, 20 minutes and 21 seconds. “Considering I couldn’t swim two years ago and I only got my first bike last year, I was over the moon,” she said after the 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and 26.2-mile run. “The weather was everything I didn’t want,” she said. “We had strong winds, it was rainy and cold. But the support was amazing. I felt sorry for the incredible spectators who got soaking wet.” 

    6 minutes read Issue 9
  • Global campaign smashes target

    GO Run For Fun has smashed its target six months ahead of schedule. Organisers of the global running campaign had hoped the 100,000th runner would cross the finish line at a GO Run For Fun event in the UK by July 2016. But Jack Ryan became the boy to make history when he joined almost 1,000 runners from 23 primary schools at the INEOS-inspired fun run at Wavertree Athletics Track in Liverpool And there to cheer him – and the others on – was world champion sprinter Richard Kilty. “I have been to six of these event across the country now and it’s been wonderful to witness the campaign grow in size and excitement,” he said. “This is a big day for GO Run for Fun.” Go Run For Fun in numbers 189 events hosted across the UK, mainland Europe and the USA 106,288 runners who have crossed the finish line 1,061 schools that have taken part in the campaign 74 sporting ambassadors inspired to take part, including Colin Jackson and Tanni Grey-Thompson 2,443 volunteers who have got involved to help encourage young children to run

    1 minute read Issue 9
  • Visionary approach

    What do you do when you’ve reached the end of the road? Or in INEOS’ case, you have achieved what you set out to do six months early? You set new goals INEOS – buoyed by the success of its global running campaign GO Run for Fun – is now broadening its horizons to help raise a generation of healthy children. It has added its weight to former headteacher Elaine Wyllie’s vision to get every child in every school running daily to help in the fight against childhood obesity. And it is planning to launch an educational programme around its award-winning Dart cartoons to teach children about the importance of a healthy diet and exercise. Elaine pioneered what has become known as The Daily Mile at her primary school in Stirling in Scotland. For the past three years every child in the school has run or walked a mile every day – just for fun. “The running is the reward,” she said. Initially INEOS and Elaine’s focus will be on the UK where one in three children are now classed as overweight or obese. But ultimately, together they hope to have a global impact. “Elaine’s passion, drive and enthusiasm for this are contagious,” said Ian Fyfe, HR Director of INEOS Group, who met her at the flagship GO Run For Fun event at Olympic Park in London in the summer. The GO Run for Fun events – and so far almost 200 events have been held in the UK, mainland Europe and America – are grand occasions, run in a carnival atmosphere with celebrities to inspire the kids. “The Daily Mile is effectively a GO Run For Fun event at school every day,” said Ian. But the aim – and benefits to a child’s health and self-esteem – of both events are the same. “Both of us have planted a seed for children about how much fun it is to be active, out and about in the open air, taking exercise and getting fitter and more athletic,” he said. Elaine has now retired as head teacher of St Ninians School where she launched the brilliantly simple scheme after hearing the pupils were exhausted by just the warm-up before their weekly PE lesson. But her work is far from done. The GO Run For Fun team recently hosted a debate, at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park about what needs to be done in the UK to tackle its growing childhood obesity crisis. Elaine was among the four panellists introduced to an audience of journalists and guests by Charlie Webster, a GO Run For Fun ambassador and TV sports presenter. “Childhood is the time to instil the right messages about fitness and what to eat,” said Dr Paul Sacher, another panellist who helped INEOS to produce an educational video aimed at children. “If we miss that opportunity we have not done our job as parents, teachers and as a society.” All four panellists, who also included INEOS GO Run For Fun Director Leen Heemskerk and ‘Marathon Man’ Rob Young, want the UK school curriculum to change so that physical exercise is deemed as important as maths and English, from primary school age. “We have a serious problem out there,” said Paul. “It is now more normal to be overweight.” That’s not the case at Elaine’s former school where not one of the 420 children is overweight. “They look lean and they are energised,” she said “And they are more alert in lessons.” But she told the panel that the school hadn’t always been a picture of health. In 2012, after being told how unfit her children were, she took a class on to the school field and asked them to run around it. Most could only manage one lap. Four weeks later – after the introduction of The Daily Mile – all of them could run the mile without stopping. “I knew it would improve their fitness,” she said. “But I saw more than that. The children were bright-eyed, less fractious, better behaved and seemed happier. It improved their mental and physical well-being so much so that our children now think it is normal to run.” At St Ninians no time is wasted changing into running kits. The children run for 15 minutes in the clothes they wear in the classroom and then get back to work. “It costs nothing and the children enjoy it,” she said. “You just need passion, not facilities.” The GO Run For Fun Foundation shares a similar ethos. The campaign was launched by INEOS in September 2013 with a £1.5 million donation spread over three years to encourage children to run for fun. Chairman Jim Ratcliffe, who is a keen runner, hoped 100,000 children would have taken part in one of 100 planned events in the UK by the end of July 2016. To date, more than 188 events have been staged, not only in the UK, but in mainland Europe and Texas in the USA, and the 100,000th runner crossed the finish line at Wavertree Athletics Track in Liverpool last month (November) – six months ahead of schedule. “We have been amazed by the response from around the world,” said campaign manager John Mayock, a three-time Olympic finalist and Commonwealth Games medallist. “It’s fantastic to be making such progress.” And that progress is set to continue as INEOS and its new partners seek an antidote to today’s modern ills.

    5 minutes read Issue 9
  • A new horizon

    Opportunities can come knocking at any time. The secret is to be ready, as INEOS knows only too well INEOS could be sitting on another pot of gold. First, though, it needs to convince the European Union that it should invest some of the €80 billion, which the EU recently set aside for world-class research and innovation, in its ideas. “This is a great opportunity for us because it coincides with so much of what we are already doing,” said Greet Van Eetvelde, who manages INEOS’ Carbon & Energy Network and energises its Research & Innovation issue team. “We just need to be more visible and get involved because there is so much public support out there. Today these organisations can provide 100% of the funding for a project in industry which is fantastic motivation for collaboration.” Greet was talking to INCH after the European Union announced the latest funding under its Horizon 2020 project, its biggest-ever programme to encourage research and innovation. “This investment is intended to help reinvigorate the chemical industry,” she said. Manufacturing plays a central role in the European economy. It turns over €7 trillion a year and provides 30 million direct jobs. Over the past few years, though, Europe’s ability to compete on a world stage has been slowly eroded by spiralling energy costs and restrictive legislation. And as companies have struggled, many R&I budgets have suffered. Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said the EU needed to do something to increase Europe’s competitiveness. “Research and innovation are the engines of Europe’s progress and vital to addressing today’s new pressing challenges like immigration, climate change, clean energy and healthy societies,” he said. Horizon 2020 was launched on January 1st, 2014. Over seven years it has invested €77 billion to support Europe’s economic competitiveness and extend the frontiers of human knowledge. The EU research budget is focused mainly on improving everyday life in areas like health, the environment, transport, food and energy. It also wants to make it easier for the public and private sectors to work together on innovative solutions. INEOS is already working furiously behind the scenes on a raft of initiatives. And it is linked to Horizon 2020 through its membership of a host of organisations including SPIRE (Sustainable Process Industry through Resource and Energy Efficiency), SusChem and PlastEU, all of which have added value to INEOS and help to raise its profile. “All of these platforms share a similar ethos and are aimed at finding new ways of thinking and working to make the European industry more resource and energy efficient,” said Greet. At INEOS she steers the company’s Carbon & Energy Network. It is made up of all businesses with over 100 representatives, all of whom have a genuine interest in improving efficiency in the most sustainable way. Unlike other companies, INEOS does not have – nor does it want – a separate sustainability department. Instead it views it as a fundamental part of how it does business. It wants everyone to think about running the business in a way that safeguards it for generations to come. The same applies to Greet’s network. All its members work elsewhere in the company. But for Greet the focus is not just about saving energy. “It is about seizing the opportunities that are all around us and not let them pass by,” she said. “As ever you have got to fall before you fly. But nothing ventured, nothing gained. If we can develop a good track record, we can hopefully attract more investment for INEOS.” And that is the aim of creating a dedicated R&I team, within the Carbon & Energy Network, focusing initially on new opportunities. In December Greet addressed the 7th European Innovation Summit at the European Parliament in Brussels. “It is so important that we challenge business scenarios and solutions,” she said. “Why not make roads out of plastic? It’s not the general thought but it is about thinking outside the box.” She said it was vital that all the key industries – chemical, steel, cement minerals, life sciences and engineering – found ways to make the most of their processes by sharing waste streams and resources. Currently, poor understanding of each other’s processes is hindering that development, which she believes is critical if industry is to properly face the challenges ahead. “We need to move from linear value chains to industrial symbiosis,” she said. “All these industries have more in common than they realise and they can work more efficiently together. Let them cross over.” Greet said INEOS Technologies in France was currently starting a four-year European project to find ways for the six global process industries to work better together to save energy, money and resources. The idea for the €5.1 million EPOS project, €3.7 million of which is being funded by the European Union and €1.4 million by the Swiss government, came about through SPIRE. “When the industries got together recently, they thought they had nothing in common, so the mediator asked them to treat it like a speed dating exercise” said Greet. “Within minutes they realised they could work together. It was like ‘oh, you have those. We need those’.” All these platforms, programmes and projects – SPIRE, Horizon 2020 and SusChem – are focused on creating a more sustainable world. “We only have so much in terms of resources,” said Greet. “So we need to challenge our thinking in ways we have never done before.” And that’s something that might just be possible, thanks to the latest boost from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme.   INEOS shares in the windfall INEOS is no stranger to winning over the European Union. Working in partnership with others, it has successfully secured millions of investment for projects that have helped to improve energy efficiency, stop resources being wasted and cut emissions. INEOS O&P (Köln), INEOS Oxide in Belgium, INEOS Paraform (a part of INEOS Enterprises) in Germany, INEOS Chlor in the UK and recently INEOS Technologies in France have all been pro-active. “All of these projects have either been successfully completed or are ongoing,” said Greet Van Eetvelde, manager of Cleantech Initiatives. INEOS Paraform won EU funding to implement a novel purification technique to treat waste air in the manufacturing process of paraformaldehyde. The plant, which has been producing chemicals at its site in Mainz, Germany, since 1856, needed to dramatically improve its emissions. “At the time no feasible technology existed to improve the situation so the plant had been running with an exemption permit” said project manager Horst Schmolt. INEOS carried out tests in a laboratory and a pilot plant showed that emission levels could be considerably reduced by setting up a plasma catalytic waste air treatment module on a large scale. “It was something no one in our type of industry had ever tried before,” said Horst. “But it worked.” Meanwhile, INEOS Chlor in the UK helped to secure investment towards developing a new computer system to help companies run their businesses more efficiently, and INEOS Oxide in Belgium worked with representatives from 17 companies from France, Germany, Spain, Norway, Denmark, Russia, Italy and the UK to secure investment to develop a new way of producing liquid fuels from natural gas. Dr Stefan Krämer, site energy manager at INEOS O&P (Köln), is currently involved in two projects which have received a total of €5.5 million in funding from the EU. One will be creating a system that allows the operators of large integrated chemical and petrochemical plants to manage resources and energy more efficiently without affecting production. That system is now being developed so that it can be used by other industries with similar production set-ups. The other seeks to improve the reliability and efficiency of large interconnected systems, such as electric power systems, air traffic control towers, railway stations and large industrial production plants. The latest to benefit is INEOS Technologies in France which is starting a four-year European project to find ways for the six global process industries to work better together to save energy, money and resources. Greet said it was vital that all the key industries – chemical, steel, cement, minerals, life sciences and engineering – found ways to share waste streams and resources. “All these industries have more in common than they realise and they can work more efficiently together,” she said.

    11 minutes read Issue 9
  • Safe and sound

    It’s easy to get bogged down in statistics and procedures when companies talk about safety. But that’s the last thing INEOS wants, as Simon Laker explains THOMAS Edison once famously said: Hell, there are no rules here, we are trying to accomplish something. As a company, INEOS rather likes that concept. It thrives on being different and applauds its staff for taking calculated risks. But when it comes to safety, the rules cannot be broken. They are there to protect people – both inside and outside the business – from harm. “No one should ever go home from INEOS with any injury, let alone a life-changing injury, or worse still, not go home at all,” said Simon Laker, INEOS Group Operations Director who is based at Lyndhurst in the UK. Its rules about safety are there, not only to be understood, but championed by all. “Sometimes it is easy to lose sight of the spirit behind what we are trying to do,” said Simon. “We are not machines. Decisions have to be made by people and getting those decisions right every day is how we stop injuries and major process incidents.” Although each business in INEOS is responsible for its own safety programmes, INEOS also adopts a group-wide approach to safety because similar incidents can happen at any one of its sites and the sharing of best practice is critical. “We don’t rely on luck,” says Simon. “Safety is the conscious management of risk. Ensuring people do not get hurt relies on the assessment we make of risk and the decisions we take to eliminate or mitigate that risk. If we get those wrong, someone gets hurt.” INEOS’ most frequent and serious incidents have led to a number of safety initiatives across the Group, which employs more than 17,000 people at 65 sites in 16 countries. In 2012 it introduced the 20 Safety Principles after analysing eight years of incidents in INEOS alongside significant events outside the company, including the explosion at the Buncefield oil depot in the UK in December 2005 in which 43 people were injured when thousands of gallons of petrol overflowed a storage tank and caught fire. INEOS’ root causes – and solutions – to ensure an incident doesn’t happen again are enshrined in those 20 principles, and every three years all sites are audited to ensure that what needs to be done, is done. “We have reviewed all the serious incidents since the 20 principles were introduced and have found that the incidents occurred because one or more of the principles were compromised,” said Simon. “From that we believe that if everyone implemented and adhered to the 20 principles we would eliminate all people and process incidents at INEOS.” Best practice is shared through its INEOS’ group guidance notes. It currently produces 16 notes that cover everything from managing corrosion to identifying safety critical alarms, and it is in the process of producing three more. “All three have been driven by repeat incidents concerning these critical activities,” said Simon. Together the guidance notes and safety principles act as a powerful tool to help keep staff focused on what needs to be done to keep everyone safe from harm. And it’s a continual process of training, feedback and auditing. But accidents do still happen. “We aren’t yet perfect,” said Simon. “But we must strive to be.” Specific holes – areas where INEOS noticed that accidents were still occurring – have now been plugged with seven life-saving rules which were introduced due to the potential for serious injury in these areas. Anyone who flouts one of those rules, which cover everything from working at height to drinking alcohol at work, faces instant dismissal. Over the past six years INEOS’ safety record has improved threefold. But despite a reduction of OSHA injury frequency from 1.13 to 0.4, Simon says that lessons are always there to be learned. Group SHE alerts – simple, one page descriptions of any accident and what actions have been taken to avoid it happening again – are widely circulated. So too are HIPOs – high potential incident alerts – where something could have gone wrong, but didn’t. They are equally as important and shared across the Group. The chemical industry will always be, by its very nature, a potentially hazardous place to work but by following the rules, accidents can be avoided. And Simon remains positive about the future. So can INEOS stop all injuries? “Absolutely,” he says. “If a work activity is fully risk assessed by knowledgeable people, if those risks are mitigated and a conscious decision is made to accept any residual risk as tolerable, then nothing should ever go wrong.” He said unfortunately staff did not have an infinite amount of time to risk assess, so a conscious decision had to be made to stop looking once an acceptable level of risk had been reached. “When this is an unconscious decision, it’s just luck as to whether a significant risk is left or not,” he said. “If we have missed something then we rely on a robust ‘nearmiss’ reporting system to find the problem before it results in an incident. This is why ‘near-miss’ reporting is so important to keeping people safe. We don’t rely on luck.” And can INEOS prevent all process incidents? “Absolutely,” says Simon, “if we have well trained people running well-designed, inspected and maintained plants, within known operating envelopes. If any of these are not correct, either through lack of knowledge or a wrong decision, then at some point a process incident will occur which usually means a release and from then it’s just luck how bad it gets. If we find we are outside our sphere of knowledge, then we have to stop, make the situation safe and involve people who do have the knowledge. We do not rely on luck.”

    6 minutes read Issue 9
  • Debate: Can we really decarbonise the economy?

    LET us put aside the question of whether carbon emissions need to be reduced. If we assume that we do have to take action, there are cheap policies and expensive policies. Our (UK) government has chosen the expensive approach. By trying to pick technological winners and subsidising huge programmes, such as the proposed nuclear power station, the government is taking action that will lead to higher bills and lower reductions in emissions. Instead, we should have simple, straightforward measures aimed at pricing carbon emissions and then allow businesses, households and energy companies to decide how best to reduce emissions.Professor Philip Booth, Editorial and Programme Director at the Institute of Economic Affairs in London, UK   IF we are to bring about decarbonisation, then we need to reform global economic governance. To do this, we need three things. Firstly, we need a global carbon price. Setting higher prices for goods and services with a large carbon footprint provides a greater incentive to reduce emissions. Rules for international trade and investment should also take account of climate change. Despite having made little progress in recent years, the World Trade Organisation remains a forum in which global regulations are designed and implemented. Concluding the Doha Round would allow more green issues to be added to the agenda going forward. Finally, if long-term, low-carbon investments are to be encouraged, it is necessary to reform the international financial system in such a way that commercial banks invest more in low-carbon projects. Current regulations leave little to no scope for doing so. Setting our sights high with regard to the Paris agreement is only the first step. But this will not be enough, as it will take many more actors to step up to the plate if we are to reform global economic governance. We need to keep moving forward after Paris.The German Development Institute   DYNAMIC change is happening in energy supply, but the change needs to happen faster. There are no major economic or technical barriers to moving towards 100% renewable energy by 2050. The renewable energy sector is delivering change, but political action is needed to ensure it happens in time. It is up to political and business leaders to steer industry, influence consumers and stimulate markets towards renewable energy and energy efficiency.Greenpeace   CLIMATE change is a big problem, and it needs big technologies. New nuclear, new gas and, if costs, come down, new offshore wind will all help us meet the challenge of decarbonisation. But it is important to pause and answer this question: ‘what are we decarbonising for?’ Climate action is about our future economic security. But climate change is a global problem, not a local one. Action by one state will not solve the problem. It’s what we do together that counts. But it will not be solved by a group of over-tired politicians and negotiators in a conference centre. It will take action by businesses, civil society, cities, regions and countries. Let’s be honest with ourselves, though, we don’t have all the answers to decarbonisation today. We must develop technologies that are both cheap and green. We need to work towards a market where success is driven by your ability to compete in a market. Not by your ability to lobby Government.Amber Rudd, the UK Government’s Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change   THE need to reduce global GHG emissions is not news, but there is an increasing urgency of what we have known for decades: we must transition to a low-carbon, green and resource-efficient global economy to mitigate the risk of dangerous climate change. It is apparent, however, that a key player in this transition has been largely overlooked: the financial sector. It has a pivotal role to play in reducing global emissions of greenhouse gases at the required pace and scale, because first, and perhaps most obviously, that’s where the money is. Large amounts of capital are needed for investment in the rapid development of low-carbon energy infrastructure, particularly in developing and emerging economies. The potential role that institutional investors can play in addressing climate change, however, goes far beyond the issue of infrastructure finance. Institutional investors are more than infrastructure financiers: they are owners and creditors of large segments of the global economy. And quite simply, if institutional investors do not systematically reallocate capital from high-carbon to low-carbon investments, particularly in corporate equity and debt, a transition to a low-carbon economy will be virtually impossible.Achim Steiner, executive director of UNEP and under-secretary general of the UN

    5 minutes read Issue 9
  • Merger creates winning combination

    INEOS and Solvay have combined their chlorvinyls businesses to give customers a better deal – and keep them at the heart of Europe’s chemical industry. INOVYN is now one of the top three PVC producers in the world. “This is now truly a world-scale business, and well placed to respond rapidly to changing European markets,” said Chris Tane, CEO of INOVYN. News that the joint venture had received European Commission approval was quickly followed by further announcements in September, which included the suspension of the last remaining mercury cellroom at Runcorn in the UK to meet EU requirements, the planned permanent closure of its PVC production facility in Schkopau in Germany and the proposed major investment in a huge production facility at its Antwerp/ Lillo site in Belgium. Production at Schkopau had been suspended since December 2014 because its VCM supply contract with DOW had expired, and sadly all attempts to agree a new competitive long-term contract had failed. In Belgium, though, work had begun on a largescale plant – using the latest technology – to underpin INOVYN’s position as Europe’s leading supplier of potassium hydroxide. INOVYN, whose headquarters are in London, employs 4,300 people at 18 manufacturing sites in eight countries. The business has an annual turnover of more than 3.5 billion Euros. Every year it manufactures 40 million tons of chemicals which find use in almost every aspect of modern society, keeping people housed, healthy and connected. As part of the deal, Solvay, which has a strong heritage in the chlorvinyls industry, will exit the joint venture in 2018, leaving INEOS as the sole owner of the business.

    2 minutes read Issue 9
  • INEOS opens new UK office

    INEOS is opening a new office in London to house its growing UK businesses. The offices will provide a home for a number of INEOS UK businesses, including its oil and gas ventures, its shipping business and its trading business. The building will also be home to the joint venture INOVYN, which controls 14 manufacturing sites across Europe including the massive Runcorn facility in Cheshire. “It makes perfect sense,” said Jim Ratcliffe, INEOS chairman and founder. “Although INEOS has business interests across the world, the UK oil and gas business is a key focus for us at the moment.” Rolle in Switzerland will remain the headquarters for INEOS Group and a number of well-established INEOS businesses. INEOS will now formally refer to itself as an Anglo/Swiss company.

    1 minute read Issue 9
  • INEOS to restart US reactor

    INEOS is to restart a reactor which it temporarily shut down three years ago amid difficult market conditions. Although conditions are still tough, INEOS Nitriles is buoyed by the growing global demand for acrylonitrile – the key ingredient in both acrylic fibre and carbon fibre – and its access to cheap US raw materials. INEOS Nitriles is the world’s largest producer of acrylonitrile and acetonitrile. Its plant in Green Lake, Texas, is one of the largest and most efficient in the world and will soon once again be capable of producing 545,000 tonnes of acrylonitrile every year. Manufacturers use acrylonitrile to produce synthetic fibres, engineering plastics, carbon fibre, synthetic ubber and water soluble polymers. Those products are then used to make car parts, clothing, construction materials, household appliances, and sports equipment to name a few. “The chances are that acrylonitrile touches everyone in some way, every day,” said Commercial Director Gordon Adams. There was also some good news for INEOS Nitriles’ Seal Sands asset with a promise to invest in the scheduled turnaround next year. INEOS Nitriles operates four plants worldwide, two in North America, one in Germany and one in the UK. It had halved its production of acrylonitrile at its Green Lake facility in January 2014 due to ‘unsustainable margins’.

    2 minutes read Issue 9
  • Runaway winners

    INEOS’ GO Run For Fun charity found itself in the running for two Cannes film awards in October – and won both. It was honoured at the Cannes Corporate Media & TV Awards, one of the world’s most important festivals in the corporate audiovisual industry, for its Dart TV educational cartoon series. GO Run For Fun commissioned the series, which is free to schools, to encourage children to embrace a healthier and more active life. Chairman Jim Ratcliffe, a keen runner himself who founded the charity, joined the Dart TV production team from London-based Media Zoo in Palm Beach, Cannes, to pick up the awards for best CSR programme and best Webisode programme. GO Run For Fun was set up two years ago. Since then almost 100,000 children from all over the world have got involved. “It has exceeded all my expectations,” said Jim. All the Dart films can be found on the GO Run For Fun website www.gorunforfun.com

    2 minutes read Issue 9
  • INEOS shares good news

    INEOS has agreed to supply a third gas cracker in Europe with the ethane it plans to import from America. The deal with ExxonMobil Chemical Ltd and Shell Chemicals Europe BV was finalised last month (November) From mid-2017 INEOS’ US shale-derived ethane will be piped from the new import terminal at Grangemouth to the Fife Ethylene Plant at Mossmorran. “This is a landmark agreement for everyone involved,” said Geir Tuft, Business Director at INEOS O&P UK. “We know that ethane from US shale gas has transformed US manufacturing and we are now seeing this advantage being shared across Scotland.” INEOS will now supply ethane from US shale to its sites at Rafnes in Norway, and Grangemouth and the Fife Ethylene Plant in Scotland.

    1 minute read Issue 9
  • Sweet smell of success

    INEOS has bought an aromatics business for almost $63 million. The deal will see INEOS Phenol take over Axiall Corporation’s cumene factory in Pasadena in Texas, America, and transfer its phenol, acetone and alpha- Methylstyrene (AMS) business to INEOS Phenol’s plant at Mobile in Alabama. About 43 people currently work at the Pasadena factory which began operating in 1979 and today manufactures 900,000 tons of cumene every year. Cumene is used to make phenol and acetone, both of which are used in a range of everyday products, including plywood, plastics, pharmaceuticals, paints, acrylics and varnishes. CEO Casier said the acquisition of such good quality, well-placed assets presented INEOS Phenol with an excellent opportunity to further improve its competitiveness. “We are already a leading producer of phenol and acetone,” he said. “But through selective investments in new assets and new technology, we intend to further develop our business and grow with our customers.”

    2 minutes read Issue 9
  • The Nine Billion People Question

    The world is filling up. Sustainability must be at the top of everyone’s agenda if we are to survive as a species on a planet with limited natural resources. But with the global population expected to top nine billion in 2050, how can we do both? It’s become the nine billion people question. And opinion is divided BRITAIN’S best-known natural history film-maker Sir David Attenborough is not a man to mince his words. Neither is he prone to exaggeration. Over the past four decades, he has seen parts of the natural world destroyed by mankind to such an extent that animals no longer exist. He has literally witnessed nature change in front of his eyes. And he blames the growing population. “I have no doubt that it is the fundamental source of all our problems, particularly our environmental problems,” he said in a recent interview with The Wellcome Trust. “I cannot think of a single problem that wouldn’t be easier to solve if there were fewer people.” He said during his career, the world’s population had tripled. “If we are able to stem it, we might have a better chance to grapple with the problems but we cannot,” he said. “The best we can do is slow down the rate of increase. I thank God that the Trust has administrators who are scientists, not politicians.” Last year in an interview with INCH magazine, Jonathon Porritt, one of the world’s leading environmentalists, said he too was putting his faith in the chemical industry to play a pivotal role in tackling the challenges of sustainability. And it is. Since the first historic Earth Summit in Rio de Janiero in 1992, the global chemical industry has helped to enable farmers adopt sustainable agricultural methods and ensure more and more people can access cleaner, safer drinking water. Further work has led to medical breakthroughs, transformed the way energy is used and helped to cut greenhouse gases. The International Council of Chemical Associations, the worldwide voice for the chemical industry, said such progress had been the result of innovative ideas, technologies and processes all made possible through chemistry. INEOS is one such company which works to develop innovative, sustainable solutions to complex and challenging issues because it recognises that it can have enormous influence on what the world does now – and in the future. One of its products that makes a huge difference to the world’s nutrition and health is acetonitrile, which is used to make essential drugs such as insulin and antibiotics, and also plays an important role in treatments for cancer. The clear, liquid solvent is also used to produce agrochemicals which ensure higher crop yields. INEOS currently meets about half of the global demand for acetonitrile. And much of what it doesn’t produce is manufactured by others using its licensed technology. There is no doubt that humanity faces profound questions about how the planet is to sustain nine billion people beyond 2050. Demand for food is rising, natural resources are challenged, and climate change has created a need for new, lower carbon energy sources. Tim Benton, a professor of population ecology at the University of Leeds in the UK and a food security expert, said people had to understand – and recognise – the finiteness of the world to give us what we want. “It is the only way we’ll ever approach sustainability,” he said. “Demand is the killer. And unless we tackle demand, we will over exploit land and water and accelerate climate change.” By 2050 the planet will have to feed a third more people but there is only so much land that can be farmed. “Surely technological advances will make our use of land more efficient, but we cannot extract ever more from ever less,” said Tim. “The only way we’ll ever approach sustainability is to moderate our demand.” He said the world currently produced enough calories for 12 billion people but people in the developed world ate too much, a good proportion went to feed livestock and the rest was wasted. “It’s not about formulation and individual nutrients, or 3-D printers,” he said. “It’s about building resilience, reducing waste and modifying our diets. In future, the agriindustry cannot persist with the ‘demand is growing, we have to supply it at all costs’ mentality. It simply has to change.” Friends of the Earth, which has been campaigning for more than 40 years to improve the well-being of the planet, recently launched its Big Ideas Change the World, a three-year project. A spokesman said the extreme pressure that people, predominately those in developed countries, had put on the planet needed to be significantly and rapidly reduced. “It is a herculean challenge and, without a global population peak this century, it may well be impossible,” he said. But opinion, about whether the world is doomed or not, is divided. “It has been a race between the exhaustibility of resources and innovation and so far innovation has won,” Citi’s chief economist Willem Buiter recently told INCH magazine. “We have several thousand years of human history to support us on that so I am reasonably optimistic.” Robert Aliber, a professor of international economics and finance at Chicago University, said he too remained untroubled. “Thomas Malthus predicted in 1798 that unchecked population growth would doom the Earth to starvation,” he said. “He has been proved wrong for the past 200 years so why should he be right in the next 100?” Overcrowding is a problem in some corners of the world. That’s a fact that cannot be denied. Award-winning Danish photographer Mads Nissen said he witnessed the problem of too many people living in too little space when he visited Manila in the Philippines nine years ago. In 1980, 50 million people lived in the Philippines. That number is expected to rocket to 180 million by 2050. “Manila is already one of the most overpopulated places on earth,” he said. “Families live in home-made shacks built in cemeteries, or between railroad tracks or under bridges. They live wherever they can find some space. Even the city’s toxic garbage dumps are home to people who eat, sleep and live surrounded by rotting trash.” But the World Population Balance believes that the future can be changed in a humane way. “We can create a new vision, a new dream for the planet,” said founder and president David Paxson. He said the solution was a global campaign to encourage people throughout the world to have fewer children. “Today we are spending millions to create a more sustainable planet but all we are getting is a more polluted one,” he said. “Sustainability on an overpopulated planet is impossible and the world is significantly overpopulated right now.” He claimed two billion people now lived in poverty. “That is more than the population of the entire planet less than 100 years ago,” he said. Mr Paxson said it would be an uphill battle to successfully cut the population but nothing compared with coping with overpopulation’s devastating consequences. The debate over how on earth we can feed nine billion people will continue to divide opinion. But as that debate continues, it falls to the chemical industry, which is at the start of almost all other industry, to continue to focus its efforts on producing essential items to help tackle many of the issues presented by an ever-changing world – in a more efficient way and in a way that not only reduces its own impact on the environment, but also the impact of industries it serves. And it is not just about saving money. INEOS knows it has a huge responsibility to provide the materials necessary for the technologies of tomorrow, to use fewer raw materials to help society to consume less energy in a world with finite resources. That is why you’ll find INEOS at the heart of the chemistry behind our basic human needs. The need for food, transport, communications, water. And for energy. It has been providing that chemistry for years. And it intends to do so for generations to come.

    10 minutes read Issue 8
  • The Most Crowded Place On Earth

    If you love people watching, Mong Kok is the place to be – if you can stand the crowds. For this Hong Kong district is believed to be the most densely populated place on planet Earth. With more than 340,000 people per square mile, nothing comes close. Charles Reynolds, though, who has lived and worked in Hong Kong for the past nine years, says it doesn’t feel overly crowded. “I have been to other places where it’s just chaotic and people cannot move,” he said. “But in Mong Kok the foot traffic flows quite nicely.” Just about everything you can imagine is bought, sold or haggled over in Mong Kok where there are entire streets dedicated to selling luck-bringing goldfish, flowers, kitchenware and bath tubs.

    1 minute read Issue 8
  • Clean Energy

    Global demand for energy has been rising ever since the 18th century when mankind started using the earth’s natural resources to fuel the Industrial Revolution. It brought great change across the world. But the recent rapid industrialisation of countries like India and China continues to fuel a further huge increase in demand. So what does the future hold? THE demands for global energy are unlikely to trouble the average man or woman in the street. But Governments, scientists, academics, environmentalists and energy-intensive companies like INEOS are continually looking at improving energy efficiency. It’s a major concern. Fossil fuels currently feed manufacturing plants around the world, where tons of chemicals are manufactured every day so that others can produce everything from paints to plastics, medicines to mobile phones and cars to clothing. “Many of the problems that threaten mankind’s survival on the planet results from the increased consumption of energy, water and raw materials,” said a spokesman for Friends of the Earth Europe. So what are the alternatives? Could wind farms and harnessing the sun’s power hold the answers? Yes, say Friends of the Earth Europe. In part, says INEOS. They are part of the energy mix but they won’t meet mankind’s needs all the time. It will take decades, however, to fully transform how Europe generates electricity and heat, so in the interim INEOS has to rely on fossil fuels to meet its energy needs. But gas has around half the emissions of coal, so INEOS believes it has an environmental duty to encourage a move towards gas rather than coal. Renewable technologies are important customers of INEOS. INEOS make the raw materials that go into wind turbines and into solar cells. Raw materials that are made from the molecules we get from gas. “Gas is needed in the long-term as a raw material to underpin manufacturing” says Leen Heemskerk, Chief Financial Officer of INEOS Olefins & Polymers Europe (North). Gas is not just a fuel that INEOS burns for energy. t is also a raw material used in the manufacture of chemicals that have application in a wide range of essential products including medicine, clothing, buildings, vehicles, computers, and green technologies, such as wind turbines and energy efficient materials. INEOS will still need gas to make these essential items once it has made the transition to low-carbon energy. It is vital, therefore, that Europe has a secure and competitive long-term supply of gas to underpin the future of the manufacturing sector. “INEOS support the innovation drive to find alternative energy sources but we need to be realistic at what pace we can de-carbonise our economy,” said Leen. The world currently consumes about 529 quadrillion British thermal units every year. Fossil fuels currently supply nearly 80% of the world’s energy. And industry, which supplies the products on which society depends, is its biggest customer. America, with just 5% of the planet’s population, currently consumes about 20% of the world’s total energy supply. But the global demand for energy is expected to double by 2040 as people in India and China, which between them contain more than a third of the planet’s people, get richer and want more energy-consuming goods such as computers. Environmentalists say society must change its ways if it is to avoid an energy crisis and have a hope of averting climate change. Increased regulation and restrictions on greenhouse gases, have helped, they say. But Friends of the Earth Europe believes wealthy nations also need to cut down on the amount of energy consumed. So too does the European Commission. It is setting ambitious targets for Europe that could ultimately force industry to drastically cut down on the amount of energy it uses. Video INEOS argues that this could have unintended consequences, including a shift of investment and a growth of industry outside of europe. “There is a very big misunderstanding of the chemical industry,” said Greet van eetvelde, INEOS Manager of Cleantech Initiatives. “We are energy intensive but we are not energy inefficient. We are continually looking at ways to reduce the amount of energy we use to produce our products. It makes good business and environmental sense. But we are also carbon intensive. We use those gas molecules as raw materials. We still have got a long way to go before the officials understand what we are about. To them, industry is just industry. But the process industry is different, and without the chemical industry in particular, modern life would not be possible.” Dan Byles, chairman of the UK Government’s All Party Parliamentary Group for Unconventional Oil and Gas, said it was not whether the world wanted low carbon energy that was in question. “It is the pathway to getting there,” he said. “Gas must be seen as a bridging fuel between an energy system still dominated by oil and coal and the low carbon future energy mix that we all want to see.” He argued that a choice should not be forced between gas or renewables. “We need both,” he said. “And we will do for some time.” Coal – the worst offender – has fuelled China’s meteoric rise from a small, emerging market into the second biggest economy in the world. But it’s come at a huge cost to the environment, with China now emitting more CO2 than any other country in the world. Last year China’s dependence on coal fell for the first time this century and was coupled with a rapid increase in the use of renewable energy. That, said Greenpeace east Asia, gave the planet a ‘window of opportunity’. “The significance is that if the coal consumption growth we have seen in China in the last 10 years went on, we would lose any hope of bringing climate change under control,” said Lauri Myllyvirta, energy campaigner at Greenpeace east Asia. “It may not be the peak yet but it is a sign that China is moving away from coal.” Alternative energy sources need to be found because, as the world’s population grows, so too will the demand for energy. In the developed world, access to safe, reliable and affordable energy has transformed people’s lives – and it could do the same for those living in the poorest places in the world. One who wants to see that happen is Microsoft founder Bill Gates, one of the richest men on earth. “In the rich world, we are right to worry about conserving energy, but in poor places, people need more energy,” he wrote in a recent blog. “For countries to lift themselves out of poverty, they need lights in schools so students can study when in the dark, refrigerators in health clinics to keep vaccines cold and pumps to irrigate farmland and provide clean water.” Mr Gates said the onus was now on wealthy countries like the US to invest more in research into clean energy. “It’s about developing energy sources that produce zero carbon,” he said. The chemical industry, although it consumes much of the world’s energy supply, is at the heart of many of those developments – and is helping to decarbonise the world economy. Global emissions have been cut thanks to improvements – driven by the chemical industry – in insulation materials for the construction industry, chemical fertilisers and crop protection, plastic packaging, lighting, marine anti-fouling coatings, synthetic textiles, automotive plastics, low-temperature detergents, engine efficiency, and plastics used in piping. “These savings highlight the vital role of the chemical industry in decarbonising the economy,” said a spokesman for the International Council of Chemical Associations. “In reality, achieving the equivalent CO2 savings without the benefits of chemical products and technologies would not be possible.” The use of chemistry in energy-saving products, such as building insulation, compact fluorescent lighting, and lightweight plastic vehicle parts, saves America alone up to 10.9 quadrillion Btus of energy and up to $85 billion in energy costs annually. In layman’s terms, that means the US has cut its energy consumption by 11% and has saved the energy needed to power 135 million vehicles for a year. “That is 55% of all the cars on the road today,” said Ryan Baldwin, spokesman for the American Chemistry Council. The International Council of Chemical Associations said recently that chemical products for vehicles were now saving 230 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions every year. And INEOS is at the heart of many of the advances being made by manufacturers to make cars lighter, stronger and more fuel efficient. Plastic is one. Carbon fibre is another. But there are also a host of other raw materials made by INEOS that are finding their way into fuel efficient tyres, and synthetic oils that are improving engine efficiency. INEOS also manufactures components for wind turbine and products for the solar industry. In short, it is enabling other industries – the renewables sector – to save energy and cut CO2 emissions. The transition to renewables, though, is unlikely to happen overnight because, although the renewable sector is growing, it is not growing fast enough and the available green technologies do not generate enough energy all the time to meet the demand. The National Academies, advisers to America on science, engineering and medicine, says reducing the amount of energy lost is as important to our energy future as finding new sources. “Gigantic amounts of energy are lost every minute of every day in converting it into a useable form,” said a spokesman. That, too, is an area in which INEOS works creatively. It has to, if it wants to stay in business in Europe where the cost of energy is now twice as high as it is in America. “We have got to continually maximise our energy efficiency,” says Jean-Noel Large, who has been given the job of improving the efficiency of the Petroineos at Lavera in France. “It is up there with the safety of the site.”

    13 minutes read Issue 8
  • Shale Gas Is The Path To The Future

    INEOS’ decision to pursue shale gas exploration in the UK has set it on a collision course with environmentalists and protest groups. But INEOS is not one to run from a challenging situation especially when it believes it is the right thing to do. INEOS is now officially the third largest shale gas company in the UK. Its deal with IGas – announced in March and finalised in May – has now given it access to almost a quarter of a million acres of potential shale gas reserves in Scotland and the North West of England. “These are first-class assets that have the potential to yield significant quantities of gas in the future,” said Gary Haywood, CEO of INEOS Shale. In August INEOS was awarded three additional shale gas licenses from the UK Government. The additional acreage cements INEOS position as one of the UK’s leading shale gas businesses. The company believes an indigenous shale gas industry will revolutionise manufacturing in Britain (currently one of the most expensive places in the world to make petrochemicals), give the UK energy security for the first time in many years, and create thousands of jobs. But public support remains a challenge for this nascent industry across the UK. In March INEOS had been buoyed by a Greenpeacesponsored survey which revealed more people in the UK supported fracking than opposed it. “It clearly showed that more and more people are seeing the potentially huge benefits of UKproduced shale gas,” Tom Crotty, INEOS CorporateAffairs Director, said at the time. “UK shale gas is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that we cannot afford to miss. North Sea oil created great wealth for the UK and shale gas can do the same.” Opponents of fracking claim it is dangerous and disruptive, triggers earthquakes, contaminates drinking water and the air we breathe. Supporters say – done properly – it is safe, provides countries with a valuable domestic resource, creates jobs, underpins manufacturing and will help to cut CO2 emissions. America is already proof of that. There, fracking has led to a manufacturing renaissance, created thousands of jobs, driven more than $150 billion worth of investment – and helped to slash US carbon emissions by displacing coal, which emits twice as much CO2 as gas. In 2012 energy-related CO2 emissions, according to the national Energy Information Agency, fell to their lowest level since 1994 because of shale. In April and May this year INEOS met with local residents for the first time, as part of a concerted effort to explain the facts around shale gas development, and answer the questions posed by people in the Scottish local communities which would be directly affected. “There will always be a hard core of opponents who are philosophically opposed to fossil fuel development, despite shale gas having only half the carbon footprint of coal,” said Gary. “However, many local residents fear shale development for more local reasons – and these are the people INEOS wants to address, to reassure them of the impacts of shale development. We believe that most people are open-minded about shale development, but want more information. It is an important part of our job to give people the facts, so they can make an informed decision on whether shale gas can happen safely and successfully within their communities – which we very much believe it can.” The meetings achieved their goal and communities appreciate the opportunity to hear from INEOS first hand, and the opportunity to get their questions answered. The team will be following up the first set of public meetings with exhibition-style events in Scotland in September. “Reassuring people that the industry can operate without long-term damage to the environment or their way of life is critical,” said Gary. “It is also vitally important to make the case for why shale gas development is beneficial for communities, and for the country.” Shale gas is widely viewed as the most important bridge to any future renewable – and affordable – energy source because of its low carbon footprint – half that of coal. As it stands, rising energy costs in Europe threaten to undermine the ability of manufacturers in the EU to compete on the world stage. The UK is currently losing jobs to the US where they have access to cheap gas, thanks to shale. In an attempt to protect its UK petrochemical business before it’s too late, INEOS is already investing $1 billion to import shale gas from America to make its site in Grangemouth profitable and to enable the long-term growth of its site at Rafnes (Norway). In a world first, those shipments of liquefied ethane will begin arriving in Rafnes later this year, and into Scotland next. “Our success in the UK depends on access to competitive energy and feedstock supplies,” said Tom. “Having access to more competitivelypriced feedstock and energy would transform the fortunes of the UK petrochemicals industry and help it to compete in a global market.” It is hard to believe that Britain – as the founder of the industrial revolution – was once the powerhouse of world trade. Today manufacturing in the UK is perceived as an industry of the past and has steadily declined with the loss of more than three million jobs over the past 20 years alone. Yet the chemical industry is even more relevant – and important than ever in helping to create a greener economy – today. Although it may still rely on fossil fuels to run its plants, it is estimated that for every ton of CO2 it uses, more than two tons are saved by its products, which include catalysts, insulation, components for wind turbines, and solar cells. Drilling for shale gas may be a new venture for INEOS in the UK, but the INEOS team is being guided by three world-leading pioneers who led the development of the first commercial shale play in the US, the Barnett Shale. Since the development of the Barnett, they have gone on to work on many other shale plays in the US and around the world. Petroleum engineer Nick Steinsberger and geologists Kent Bowker and Dan Steward, who are now working exclusively for INEOS in Europe, have more than 20 years of industry experience. They have drilled thousands of shale wells without encountering any major issues and will be advising INEOS on how best to safely access Britain’s vast reserves. “We believe our knowledge and experience in running complex petrochemical facilities, coupled with the world-class, sub-surface expertise we recently added to our team, means that INEOS will be seen as a very safe pair of hands,” said Gary. He added: “Shale gas is not about short-term speculation for us. It is about securing our manufacturing base which provides thousands of jobs in regional economies.” For information about shale gas visit:www.ineosupstream.com Gas who needs it vid Hydraulic Fracking vid

    16 minutes read Issue 8
  • Köln Visit: Energy Efficient

    The European Commission wants drastic cuts in energy consumption in Europe. It argues that it will be good for the environment, for jobs, energy security and the economy. INEOS, which spends 1.3 billion euros on energy every year, begs to differ. THE European Commission is being urged to understand the significant day to day focus that the chemical industry has on improving its energy efficiency instead of imposing yet more targets. It is appealing to the Commission, which wants a 27% reduction in energy consumption by 2030, to see that saving energy is already a fundamental part of how INEOS operates. “We don’t need more regulations or targets,” said Tom Crotty, INEOS Group Communications Director. “Energy efficiency is already a core business value because it makes good business sense. And nearly every technology available and affordable to reduce energy consumption has already been installed at our sites. To us a further cut in energy consumption would mean a cut in production.” The Commission believes setting an ambitious energy efficiency target will be good for the environment, for jobs, energy security and the European economy. INEOS, which spends 1.3 billion euros on energy every year, says the target is unrealistic, unworkable for the chemical industry and threatens to kill the industry in Europe and, with it, six million jobs. INEOS believes the problem partly stems from the Commission’s lack of understanding about the importance and on-site reality of the chemical industry. “We already have a competitiveness problem in Europe,” said Tom. In a concerted effort to be heard amongst many people who responded to a European Commission consultation on its 2030 climate and energy policies, INEOS and CEFIC invited representatives from the Commission’s Directorate-General for Energy to visit the Köln site. “INEOS has been working with great success on energy savings for years,” said Gerd Franken, CEO INEOS O&P North. “And we believe our sites are amongst the most energy efficient in the world.” The Köln site in Germany employs 2,000 people from 28 nations, and covers an area the size of Monaco. It spends 90% of its expenses on energy and feedstock and uses enough to heat, light and power 200,000 homes. The site might use a lot of energy but that does not mean it is inefficient. Stefan Krämer, energy manager at the site, showed the DG Energy delegation how everyone on the site already worked together to save energy. “It is quite a challenge as internal energy networks at the INEOS site in Köln need to be balanced,” he said. “The nitric acid and acrylonitrile process, for instance, generates steam, and crackers and butadiene production need heat and therefore use steam.” By-product hydrogen, rather than being flared, is used thermally in the power plant instead of natural gas – a move that has saved 80,000 MWh a year of natural gas. And improvements to the cooling tower have saved a further 13,000 MWh a year of electricity. “INEOS really is determined to use and reuse everything it produces,” said Gerd, “It makes clear business and environmental sense.” During the visit, Brigitta Huckestein, Communications and Government Relations from BASF, the world’s largest chemical company, also appealed to the Commission to see sense. For the first-time ever BASF has announced a strategic cutback in European investment, citing stagnant markets, expensive energy and expensive labour. Brigitta said BASF was struggling to find any further measures to reduce its energy consumption and C02 emissions. The Ludwigshafen site of BASF is the biggest and most efficient, integrated site in Germany. But she argued that the integrated production would lose efficiency if a renewable energy surcharge was applied to selfproduced power from a CHP plant after 2017. “It will also reduce the competitiveness of this most energy-efficient installation,” she said. “In short, we already feel driven out. If regulations stipulate the production of basic chemicals in Europe as a measure to reduce European energy demand, we feel it will be dangerous for the German and European economy because value chains will be destroyed. And if conditions are not favourable, we will invest elsewhere.” Koln video Alistair Steel, a representative from CEFIC, which is the voice of the chemical industry in Europe, said affordable energy was the key to growth. “The competitiveness depends on the industry’s access to competitive, reliable energy supplies,” he said. The cost of producing ethylene in Europe is now twice as high as in the US where cheap shale gas has led to a manufacturing renaissance. And while INEOS’ profits in Europe have halved in the past three years, its profits in the USA have tripled. “We can only cut so much energy,” said Greet van eetvelde, Manager of Cleantech Initiatives and based at INEOS’ head office in rolle, Switzerland. “The European Commission has to decide whether it wants a chemical industry in Europe. It is impossible to meet these targets without significant investment and the economic climate in Europe makes this difficult.” even if INEOS wanted to fund clean technology, it faces an uphill battle. “Banks like safe bets,” said Tom. “They do not like new technologies. Often the funding of new technologies is also dependent on support by the government which includes a political risk.” Stefan said the chemical industry had been working on ways to make their production plants more efficient for years. “The self-commitment of the industry to energy efficiency started long before EU directives in 1996,” he said. Last year INEOS chairman Jim ratcliffe warned that Europe’s chemical industry was facing extinction within a decade. “I can see green taxes. I can see manufacturing being driven away,” he wrote in an open letter to Jose Manuel Barroso, then president of the European Commission. He urged the Commission to wake up. “Worldwide the chemical sector has revenues of $4.3 trillion,” he said. “That’s bigger than the GDP of Germany. In Europe, chemicals and autos share top billing with $1 trillion each. Economically speaking chemicals is one of Europe’s jewels in the crown.” INEOS is hopeful that the Köln visit may have opened eyes in Brussels. Paul Hodson, a member of the Commission delegation, said in an email to INEOS that it had given them a valuable insight into – and understanding of – the chemical industry. He said a thriving European industry was at the core of the Commission’s concerns and that its policies would seek to increase the industry’s competitiveness. What the European Commission wants by 2030 27% reduction in energy consumption (non-binding for industry) At least 27% increase in renewables 40% cut in carbon emissions

    11 minutes read Issue 8
  • A Question Of Mindset

    Changing the workplace is easy; changing people’s mindsets is not. But with the right approach, it’s not impossible NO ONE likes change. At least that’s the theory. But the reality is that some people do. And some don’t. Companies, looking to win over all their staff, perhaps just need to change their approach. The master of management, the late Peter Drucker, was very clear about the best way for an organisation to implement change. “You have to infuse your entire organisation with the mindset that change is an opportunity and not a threat,” he said. “People are secure if they realise that this time of sudden, unexpected and radical change is a time of opportunity.” Someone who understands that change can cause emotional upset – and lead to a dip in performance – is Dr Fred Wadsworth, a medical director at UK-based Corperformance which has worked closely with INEOS in the past. “Poorly-managed change processes can be seen as a threat and cause classic stress responses,” he said. But he said the fear of implementing change should never deter a company from seeking change. “An appetite for change needs to be present and developed but that can be achieved by setting members of staff effective goals, in which they believe,” he said. “Those threatened by the journey are usually the hardest to persuade.” But even those, can be won over. John Reh, a senior American business executive and author, said understanding what – and how – things needed to be done, was half the battle. “You have to help your people understand what the change will be, when it will happen and why it needs to be done,” he said. Roberta Katz, an Associate Vice President for Strategic Planning at Stanford University in America, described change as an iterative process. “Individuals within an organisation will get on the change train at different times,” she said. “The leader will have to keep repeating the vision and repeating the strategy so that when everyone is finally on the same train, they will have heard the same message, and will understand the goal to which they are all working. If you are the leader expressing the change, you are bored, you are ready to move on, but you have to remember to keep saying it because even if someone has heard it 10 times, you may not get them to understand until the 11th time when something happens in their life to make it meaningful.” Resistance to change can often spring from a fear of the unknown. “We resist change but fear of the unknown can result in clinging to status quo behaviours, no matter how bad they are,” said Dr Stan Goldberg, a former clinicalprofessor at San Francisco State University. That fear is often based on staff perception. And perception matters because it is their reality. The good news, says Dr Wadsworth, is that perceptions – just like personality – can be changed. “Personality is a fluid thing,” he said. “Values may be set in our teenage years and be like anchors on a seabed but the way we behave is more fluid, like buoys floating on the sea. They remain connected to our anchors but are open to change. That is why goals which are linked to our values are more likely to be achieved than those that are not.” The late Mr Drucker said if a change looked like an opportunity, a company should put one or two good people to work on it. “You need someone at the top who enjoys the unexpected,” he said. “That is crucial because there will be a great many surprises, and if every surprise is a threat, we won’t be around for very long.” Mr Drucker said rapid change could be achieved without upsetting people if the staff trusted the company. “Building trust is not rocket science,” said James Hec, a member of the faculty of theHarvard Business School. “It should be pretty simple, in fact. Don’t create expectations that can’t be met. Share knowledge. Hire, recognise, and fire the right people. Be consistent and predictable and avoid large-scale layoffs as much as possible.” Dr John Kotter, a Harvard Business School professor, has written almost 20 books about leadership and change. Last year he launched Kotter International Center for Leaders, a firm of world-class experts in helping organisations change. “The rate of change is increasing faster than our ability to keep up,” he said. “Yet we expect leaders at all levels to deliver ever-better results – and sooner.” David Carder is an engagement leader at Kotter International in America. “We have seen many companies that are unable to truly capitalise on technology and change the way they want to because they are held back by their hierarchy and structure,” he said. The bottom line, said Mr Drucker, is that change is painful, risky and requires a great deal of hard work. “Unfortunately, you cannot manage change,” he said. “You can only be ahead of it. You can only make it.” Top 5 tips for a company wanting to implement change 1 Keep staff in the loop – people like to know what is going on, especially if their jobs are directly affected2 Inspire your staff – appeal to people’s aspirations and desires. Goals that are linked to their own values will be more achievable3 Think ahead – changes should be made in the long-term best interests of the company, not simply to save money in the short-term4 Be understanding – staff are more likely to accept change if they fully understand the reasons for it5 Be realistic – Unrealistic goals increase fear, which increases the likelihood of failure

    6 minutes read Issue 8
  • The Changing Face Of Grangemouth

    The face of Grangemouth is changing. And with it, comes the promise of a new and exciting future. ONE of the largest ethane storage tanks ever to be built in Europe is taking shape. Once completed, the 60,000-cubic metre tank will hold 30,000 tons of liquefied ethane gas – and herald a new era in the manufacture of petrochemicals. “The skyline at Grangemouth has changed somewhat since the 40-metre tank wall was built,” said Alan MacMillan, O&P UK ethane project manager. “These are exciting times for the O&P UK business and the tank is tangible evidence of the investment being made.” INEOS raises the roof vid The construction of the tank is just one element of a number of synchronised projects and activities that forms O&P UK’s vision for a sustainable and viable future. INEOS is investing about £450 million to transform the loss-making Scottish manufacturing site, which employs more than 1,300 people directly, into one of the best in the world. “It is the most significant investment into UK and Scottish petrochemical manufacture of recent times,” said John McNally, CEO INEOS Olefins & Polymers UK. “And it clearly demonstrates our commitment to Grangemouth.” INEOS needs the ethane, which will begin arriving from the US next year, to replace the dwindling stocks from the North Sea. Only by securing sufficient raw materials to run the manufacturing plants optimally and at full capacity – something it has been unable to do for many years – can the Scottish site begin to turn around its fortunes. In addition to the storage tank, the ethane supply project encompasses significant infrastructure work. The business is making changes to its jetty and offloading facility, where the state-of-the-art ships will dock, and laying miles of pipes to transfer the ethane to the tank and on to the manufacturing plant. INEOS constructs ethane tank vid The work will be carried out by a number of contractors who have been hired to ensure the project is completed on time, safely and within budget. “Working alongside the many different companies and across a number of interfaces is a complex and challenging task,” said Alan. The plan being implemented at Grangemouth is very similar to the one recently undertaken at INEOS’ Rafnes plant in Norway where the company has successfully built the infrastructure to enable it to import ethane from the North American shale gas fields this year. Long-term contracts have been agreed with American suppliers to pipe the shale gas ethane cross country to the east and Gulf coasts of America from where it will be shipped across the Atlantic to Norway – and in 2016 to Scotland – in a fleet of eight specially-designed ships commissioned by INEOS. In the meantime, as Grangemouth awaits those shipments, the O&P UK business continues to work on its strategic survival plan, which will protect the long-term value of the site by creating a global leading chemicals and manufacturing hub with the potential to become a centre of excellence and innovation in Scotland.

    3 minutes read Issue 8
  • How The Mighty Can Fall

    No one can be complacent in today's fast-paced environment. In today’s fast-paced environment, companies rise and fall faster than ever before. The biggest threat is perhaps complacency. Or as the late Steve Jobs, inventor of the iPhone, put it; “Kill complacency before it kills you.” Here are six companies that were once deemed leaders in their field, before they all sadly lost their way Blockbuster Few could have predicted how this success story would end. Blockbuster was once the undisputed leader in video rental with a market value of $5 billion. It employed 60,000 people and had 9,000 stores throughout the world. Then Netflix started sending films through the post and cable and phone companies started streaming movies into people’s homes – and Blockbuster failed to respond to customers’ changing habits. Kodak NO ONE came close to rivalling Kodak for almost 100 years. The company was built on a culture of innovation and change; it was destroyed by complacency. Most people owned a Kodak camera and used Kodak’s trademark film. But what the company didn’t picture was its own demise with the advent of digital photography, a technology that it invented. It failed to act swiftly enough and others moved in for the kill. Polaroid Apple’s iconic inventor Steve Jobs is believed to have idolised the man who pioneered the iconic Polaroid SX-70. For Edwin Land was the first to mix cutting-edge technology with design. At its peak in 1991, sales of its mainly instant cameras and film almost hit £3 billion. But its great undoing came when it failed to embrace the digital photography revolution and went bankrupt 10 years later. Motorola It’s hard to believe that Motorola built and sold the world’s first mobile phone, and in 2003 introduced the biggest-selling mobile phone ever at the time – the Razr. But Motorola failed to focus on smart phones that could handle email and pictures and rapidly lost market share. Commodore International Commodore International was one of the first computer companies to successfully compete for the home market. Its relatively small machines were well made and cheap. In the early 80s, two million Commodore 64s were being snapped up every year and the company had cornered almost 50% of the market. Then it released the smarter Commodore plus/4. A smart move one would think but the company alienated its core customers. The new model was incompatible with the old one which customers loved. The company went bankrupt in 1994. ICI ICI was once a symbol of Britain’s industrial might. At its peak the company, which invented polythene, employed 130,000 people and was one of the biggest chemical companies in the world. But in the 1990s it became too complacent. Paul Hodges, a senior executive at ICI until 1995, said the company became increasingly risk and decision-adverse. “It lost the cuttingedge, the drive to try out new directions,” he said. “Instead, ‘no surprises’ became the motto.” It moved into speciality chemicals and sold its commodity chemicals business to INEOS, under whose ownership it has grown from strength to strength. Meanwhile ICI’s earnings continued to fall. The company was eventually sold to Dutch company AkzoNobel in January 2008 and its adhesives and electronic materials businesses was bought by Germany’s Henkel three months later.

    3 minutes read Issue 8
  • Change Of Scene

    Comfort zones are not for everyone. Especially men like Tony Moorcroft. To him, a change is always better than a rest, as INCH discovered ON 19th March 2003 American President George Bush addressed the world. In a live TV broadcast, he said that the Allied campaign to disarm Iraq, free its people and defend the world from grave danger, had begun. Watching events unravel, perhaps more closely than others, was Army reservist Tony Moorcroft, thousands of miles away at his home in the UK. For his specialist maritime regiment had already become the first to be compulsorily mobilised since the Second World War. He had received a letter, sealed in a brown envelope, in the post two months earlier. “At the time I had opened it and briefly read it before setting off for work, but I didn’t fully take in the content until a few hours later when I suddenly realised this was for real,” he said. Understandably his family were more worried than he was. “You know that it’s what you have been trained and signed up for so you become totally focused on the hour by hour, day to day tasks which enable you to overcome any fears or trepidation,” he said. “But they have to get on with a things in as normal a way as possible.” A week after he had received his call-up papers in January 2003, he had left the family home in the north of England and joined his 165 Port and Maritime Regiment, a specialist, logistical unit, as part of Operation Telic 1. Their job for the next five months would be to keep Allied Forces alive as they landed at critical locations in Iraq and Kuwait. As a non-commissioned officer he also had the added responsibility of looking after a team of men. “That really focuses the mind to achieve the outcome everybody wants which is to return safely to family and friends,” he said. Although thousands died in the conflict, Tony lived – and returned to his job as HR director for INEOS ChlorVinyls and INEOS Enterprises. “After a brief period of leave, I wanted to get back into civilian, normal life as quickly as possible,” he said. “For me it was fairly easy to adjust because as soon as I returned to work, I was back into a busy schedule. Family, friends and colleagues, though, gave me a great deal of support and didn’t pester me with endless questions, and the support I received from INEOS was fantastic. Many reservists were worried about their jobs back home. I wasn’t which meant I could focus solely on making sure everyone came home safely.” It was an experience, though, that would change his life. “I learned a lot about myself and others but it’s not one that I would repeat without trepidation,” he said. “I value life more and I think I now handle difficult situations better.” “I initially joined to enhance my engineering skills and further my career,” he said. “But being a reservist has changed my life in more ways than one and INEOS as an employer could not have done any more. In the Army Reserve you learn to prepare for very demanding environments where you have no choice but to take responsibility and be accountable for your actions. We face similar challenges and dilemmas in the chemical industry. Over the years I have found that both roles complement each other with the need for leadership, team work, discipline, integrity and respect.” He must also have been doing something right. For last year he was nominated for a Queen’s Birthday Honour – the Queen’s Volunteer Reserve Medal – for exemplary meritorious service in the conduct of their duties by his commanding officer Lt Col CK Thomas RLC. Only 13 are awarded each year. “My initial reaction was shock,” said Tony, 55. “But it very quickly turned to pride because so few of these medals are presented each year which makes it very special.” He was presented with the medal at Buckingham Palace by Prince Charles who recalled meeting Tony in 1993 at the Battle of the Atlantic commemorations ceremonies in Liverpool. “He was particularly interested in my switch from the Navy to the Army because we had both served on the same class of ship during our careers,” he said. Badge of honour ACCOLADES don’t come much higher in Tony Moorcroft’s book than the Queen’s Volunteer Reserve Medal. But then again, neither does the praise that earned him that prestigious award. His commanding officer, Lt Col Colin Thomas, who nominated him for the award, said Tony continued to stand out as an exemplary and selfless individual even though he was now nearing retirement. “He has always been known for his team spirit and readiness to sacrifice his own ease and comfort if it would help his colleagues,” he said. “All those who work with him, and perhaps most importantly those whom he commands, view him with the utmost respect. He is wholly committed, totally dependable and has unbridled enthusiasm, even after more than three decades of both naval and military service.” Lt Col Thomas said Tony cared deeply for the welfare of his soldiers when they were deployed in Iraq in 2003. “In addition to his main job, he put a huge amount of energy into turning his hand to repair or improvise basic facilities which ensured that morale remained high,” he said.

    5 minutes read Issue 8
  • Debate: Is Change Always A Good Thing

    Some people thrive on change; others will do all they can to resist it. But are those who advocate that change is a good thing, always right? INCH sought the opinions of those with something to say Change is not always a good thing. It may force us out of tired habits and impose better ones upon us, but it can also be stressful, costly and even destructive. What’s important about change is how we anticipate it and react to it. Change can teach us to adapt and help us develop resilience, but only if we understand our own capacity for growth and learning. When change makes us better, it’s because we have learned how to turn a challenging situation to our own advantage, not merely because change happens.Rick Newman, author of Rebounders: How Winners Pivot from Setback to Success and a columnist for Yahoo Finance One of life’s constants is change. Ready or not, it happens. We grow. We age. Technology reinvents each new day. Some relish change; others resist. We like it best on our terms, but don’t always have that option. Sometimes all we can do is cope with it. When given the opportunity to exert our will in the matter, we’re wise to proceed with caution. Change for the sake of change is a risk – the grass on the fence’s other side isn’t always greener. The relentless pursuit for “better” can sometimes leave us bitter, regretting changes we didn’t need to make.Bob Tamasy, author and Vice President of Communications Leaders Legacy, Inc. Change isn’t inherently good or bad. It’s something that is inevitable. Problems are created by the speed at which it occurs and the threat it poses to those being asked to change. A helpful maxim is that the smoothest journey occurs when what you’re asking a person, organisation, or country to do, is almost as easy as not changing. Unfortunately, those who push for change are shocked when there’s blow-back. Even the most basic understanding of the principles of change would make transitions easier, whether it’s the head of a country proposing universal insurance, the CEO of a corporation after for more accountability from his employees, or a wife annoyed at her husband’s messiness.Stan Goldberg, author of “I Have Cancer,” 48 Things To do When You Hear the Words and eight other books on the sharp points of life Change is inevitable, but are we always forced to change because we live in a highly-connected, fast-paced global environment? I think change for the sake of change has nothing to do with true innovation and fostering creativity or acquiring new knowledge and learning the necessary new skills to stay competitive. For big or small businesses any change in brand identity such as image, logo, slogan, has an impact on the brand image and how the customers perceive the products or services. In most cases, loyal brand lovers hate change so before implementing any change, you need to ask: What additional value do I bring to my customers, employees and other stakeholders?Anne Egros, global executive coach Many people hate change, yet others look forward to it. Resistance to change is normal yet a very destructive thing. Some managers fail to recognise the symptoms of change as directly related to proposed or actual changes, such as high staff turnover, conflict, lateness, mistakes, injuries, low morale and lowered productivity.Eve Ash, Australian psychologist and managing director of Seven Dimensions Excellent firms don’t believe in excellence, only in constant improvement and constant change. Winners must learn to relish change with the same enthusiasm and energy that we have resisted it in the past.Tom Peters, American writer on business management practices Change is good. It’s also often hard. The status quo can be so much more comfortable. But to succeed in business, you must run towards it. This is the fastest-changing communications and technology landscape we’ve ever been in. Twenty years ago, you probably didn’t have an email address, and now it’s hard to imagine life (or your business) without email. Ten years ago, Facebook didn’t exist, and now one-and-a-quarter billion people and millions of businesses use it to communicate. Even if you’re not directly involved in the communications or technology industries, there’s no doubt that technology has played a huge role in changes in your industry. These changes mean you have to change.Dave Kerpen, New York Times bestselling author of Likeable Social Media and Likeable Business Progress is impossible without change. And those who cannot change their minds, cannot change anything.The late George Bernard Shaw, Irish playwright and co-founder of the London School of Economics

    4 minutes read Issue 8
  • In Safe Hands

    INEOS is obsessive about safety. It has to be. Lives can be at stake if it gets things wrong. But when mistakes are made, INEOS is keen to ensure valuable lessons are learned every time COMPLACENCY kills businesses. And in a potentially hazardous business like INEOS, complacency can also costs lives. One man whose job is to help fight against it is Steve Yee, INEOS Group Safety Health and Environment Director based at Runcorn, UK. “It’s so important that safety is always at the forefront of everyone’s mind,” he said. “We all know that the sustainable long-term future of our businesses rests on our track record on safety, health and the environment.” Whatever INEOS is doing, though, seems to be working. Last year INEOS’ overall safety record improved 23% on 2013 and its environmental breaches hit an all-time low. “It was our best-ever safety and environmental performance,” said Steve,who collates the Group’s safety reports. He said INEOS had often seen year-on-year improvements but this was one of the biggest. “What has been particularly pleasing is to see sites, which were not among the best safety performers, showing improvements,” he said. “When that happens, it shows very clearly what can be achieved if we set our minds to it.” INEOS recently switched to OSHA (Occupational Health and Safety Administration), a stricter, US-based system of recording workplace accidents, injuries and illnesses so that outsiders could judge its performance against the very best. “We can now see that INEOS compares well against the likes of Shell and Dow Chemical,” said Steve. “But whilst we are catching up, we are still behind.” INEOS views an OSHA performance of 0.23 as being the best in class. “Dow is amongst one of the top performers,” he said. “We are at 0.40.” In December Steve and Simon Laker, INEOS’ Group Operations Director, visited Dow’s HQ in America to understand how it managed to achieve such an impressive performance. “A number of factors came out and a particularly important one is that whilst the OSHA performance may be improving, the number of life-changing injuries is not,” hesaid. “The same is true for us, so clearly we have to be more focused on what we need to do to avoid the more serious injuries and fatalities.” Steve also realised that reporting across all countries needed to be at a high level if INEOS was ever going to see real improvement. “As a management team we are very focused on reporting,” he said. “It’s absolutely no good if the first injury we hear about is a fatality or a loss of limb.” In an effort to make a difference, INEOS launched a group-wide initiative late last year after a member of staff at one of its production sites by-passed a safety system to speed up the job. “New initiatives are always introduced when we review incidents that have occurred because we see what we need to put in place to prevent repeats,” he said. “Thankfully no one was hurt in the incident but it was good that it was reported to us.” The life-saving rules now make it easier for everyone to see what INEOS expects – and also help to ensure the safety basics are in place everywhere. Steve said those rules would be seen by everyone. “What makes it easier to check that messages have been clearly communicated to all and understood is INEOS’ management structure,” he said. “We don’t have a huge corporate headquarters. Each site is very much accountable for its actions.” The rules INEOS introduced seven life-saving rules after a worker bypassed a safety system to speed up his job. Those rules are: No consumption or being under the influence of alcohol or drugs on company property No smoking outside dedicated smoking areas No work on live equipment/machines to commence without authorisation Safety critical devices/interlocks must not be disabled or overridden without authorisation Persons working at height must use proper fall protection No entry to confined space without authorisation and gas test Lifting & hoisting – no unauthorised person to enter the defined danger zone where objects can fall

    4 minutes read Issue 8
  • Breaking The Mould

    The late Steve Jobs had a strategy and a vision for Apple and it started with the customer, not the engineers or the company’s awesome technology. The focus was always on the incredible benefits Apple could give its customers. Styrolution shares that vision STYROLUTION has come a long way since 2011. For the staff it has been quite a journey. For the customers, it has been proof that industry consolidation can work together for the greater good. Today INEOS Styrolution is a wholly owned business having bought BASF’s 50% stake in the 2011 styrenic plastics joint venture for €1.1 billion last year. And the future for the customers – if it is at all possible – looks even brighter. The automotive industry will be among those to benefit most from INEOS’ latest decision to merge two of its businesses and create a one-stop shop for styrenics, which makes plastics for car components, electronic devices, household appliances, medical equipment, packaging and toys. “It is something that no other company can offer on this scale,” said INEOS Capital Directorand Styrolution chairman Andy Currie. “And that is powerful for us and our customers.” The decision to merge INEOS Styrolution and INEOS ABS was made in March this year – just months after INEOS acquired BASF’s share in Styrolution, the global market leader for styrenics. Andy said the merger made perfect sense and offered ‘further tremendous opportunities for growth’. INEOS ABS is the largest producer of styreneacrylonitrile polymers in North America and is well known there for shaping the interiors of cars. INEOS Styrolution, which operates 15 manufacturing sites in nine countries, has historically had a stronger position in exterior automotive applications. “The businesses complement each other beautifully,” said Kevin McQuade, CEO, INEOSStyrolution. “High performance and premium aesthetics are key buying criteria for our customers in the automotive industry. And that’s what sets our products apart. We are passionate about giving our customers the best solution. It is in our corporate DNA.” He added: “In the past, we may have had both companies competing for the same business but now we can build upon each other’s strengths to provide customers a more comprehensive offering.” At the recent international NPE trade show in Orlando, Florida, INEOS Styrolution and INEOS ABS shared a booth and offered customers a glimpse of the future. “We were able to show them that the possibilities of styrenics are endless and they were excited by what they saw,” said Kevin. “Quite simply we have always been helping others to shape the future of the automotive, healthcare, electronics, household, construction and packaging industries through styrenics.” INEOS and BASF had formed the joint venture in October 2011 amid challenging market conditions. Overnight they created a truly global business and secured their number one place in the global styrenics market with a world-class, global manufacturing platform offering customers supply security, access to the very best technology and a broad product and service portfolio. Together they were also stronger and more efficient. And within two years – instead of the forecasted five – they had generated €200 million in cost savings. “We created a completely different and unique company,” said Kevin. “It was a game-changer.” As part of the joint venture agreement, though, INEOS always had the right to buy out BASF – a decision it took in November last year. INEOS chairman Jim Ratcliffe described the acquisition as another important step in the growth of the Styrolution business. “We are pleased to bring Styrolution fully into the INEOS family,” he said at the time. INEOS Styrolution is now a wholly-owned INEOS business – and looking to expand. “Styrolution already has a global asset footprint but new markets are emerging,” said Kevin. “We intend to expand our footprint in Brazil and in Asia, particularly China. This is an outgrowth of our Triple Shift strategy, which calls for expanding our position across customer industries, standard ABS and styrenic specialties, and emerging markets. With plants all over the world, there is no need to ship goods from Europe to America or vice versa. The goods are on the doorstep of our customers. We really are a truly global business within INEOS.” INEOS Styrolution sells its products to the automotive industry as granules. Those granules are then further processed by manufacturers to make and shape parts, for example, for cars. “Whatever they can imagine, they can make,” said Kevin. Another industry which works closely with INEOS Styrolution is the construction industry – and it shows. “Our customers in the construction market are at the leading edge of innovation and are continually challenged to bring higher endurance, longer lasting, more cost effective and aesthetically-pleasing products to the marketplace,” said Thomas Hazenstab, Specialities Business Director. Together they have created products such as decking, fencing and railings that fare better in bad weather and can also withstand high temperatures. “We pride ourselves on working closely with customers to develop new products that meet their specific needs,” said Thomas. “It’s about setting industry trends. We want to offer the best possible solution to give them a competitive edge in their own markets.” Kevin said innovation had been key to the business’ success and would be, even more so, in the future. “To thrive in the specialty markets, we need to create added value through innovation for our customers,” he said. “That’s why we enter into collaborative innovation with our customers to develop new styrenic solutions for the products of tomorrow. Cutting-edge solutions and applications, product and process innovations differentiate us from our competitors and foster our preferred partner position.” Styrolution is also the leading, global supplier of styrenics to the electronics industries, which also ensures computer casings and monitors are strong and heat resistant. A major part of printers made in the world today contain Styrolution polystyrene or ABS products. Both Styrolution and INEOS ABS are also expected to benefit from the merger by reaping synergies which will enhance the efficiency of the business. Core functions such as marketing and sales, customer service, research and development, supply chain, manufacturing, finance and human resources are being merged and best practices are being shared. Not only will this benefit the whole organisation but customers will enjoy the advantage of having a central source to fulfil all their styrenics requirements. “There have been a lot of changes for people within the business,” said Kevin. “But for our customers, the key message has been continuity. If there are any changes, they will be for the better. This company is in it for the long-term.” www.styrolution.com Styrolution vid 2

    14 minutes read Issue 8
  • INEOS Gains Interest Of Lenders

    INEOS is not one to miss an opportunity, especially when it comes to managing its financial affairs more efficiently. And this year has been no exception A robust performance and INEOS’ reputation as a company that can make money helped it to iron out three separate deals during the first half of this year – and slice a further €80 million off its annual interest bill. “Although it means investors won’t make as much money in interest, it means INEOS can focus on strengthening the business, and is seen as a better ‘risk’, which is always good for lenders,” said Peter Clarkson, Head of InvestorRelations at INEOS. The money saved in interest payments, on the latest €4 billion debt to be refinanced, is likely to be reinvested in the business. “It is hard to say exactly what will be done with the extra cash flow,” said Peter. “But what it does do is give us more flexibility when we are considering business improvements or even some bolt-on acquisitions, to which we remain alert and opportunistic.” Over the past four years INEOS has – in a succession of tactically smart moves – refinanced the $9 billion it borrowed in 2005 to buy Innovene, BP’s olefins, derivatives and refining subsidiary. And in doing so, it has helped to save the company €405 million in interest charges. “Since 2011 we have been in a process to improve the debt structure of the group after the restrictions that were put in place after the financial crisis of 2008,” said ChiefFinancial Officer Graeme Leask. “That is what has enabled us to reduce our cash interest bill from €763m in 2010 to €358m now.” In April 2012 INEOS made history in the financial world when it achieved the largest-ever covenant-lite loan for a European company and the largest globally since the credit crunch began in 2008. Michael Moravec, head of European high-yield syndicate, described it as a staggering achievement by a company. “Management can now concentrate on what it does best, which is managing a chemicals business,” he said at the time. INEOS has now refinanced most of its loans that were nearing maturity. “Taking out the next big tranche of debt requires us to pay a significant premium now, but the premium will reduce and may be a more attractive proposition next year,”said Peter.

    2 minutes read Issue 8
  • INEOS channels energy into new TV show

    It hopes IN:TV, which will be broadcast from a different site every month, will strengthen the bond between its growing, global workforce and the company. INEOS External Affairs Director Tom Crotty, who will host the 15-minute programme, will be joined each time by a special guest presenter from the local plant. “In just 17 years INEOS has grown from nothing into a global chemicals’ giant with over 53 manufacturing sites around the world and nearly 20,000 employees,” he said. “Sometimes communicating to so many people is a real challenge.” The first episode was filmed at Grangemouth in Scotland where Tom was joined by Jennifer Prentice, an award-winning chemical engineering graduate in O&P UK. “I really think with the innovation of IN:TV that we are leading the way in staff communications for the petrochemicals sector,” said Tom. “And given the importance of video and social media to the younger generation, who represent our future employees, and customers, we want to provide as much information as possible to them.” Each episode will highlight the latest news from around the group but employees will also be given the chance to ask chairman Jim Ratcliffe any questions. The programme is online – for all to view – at www.ineos.com/intv

    3 minutes read Issue 8
  • Insight and Ingenuity join INEOS’ fleet

    TWO state-of-the-art ships commissioned by INEOS to transport tons of liquefied ethane gas from the USA to Europe have been officially named. JS INEOS Insight and JS INEOS Ingenuity began work in July. Emblazoned on the side of one of the huge vessels is ‘shale gas for manufacturing’; the other bears the slogan ‘shale gas for chemicals’. The ships were named at Qidong near Shanghai, where the first of a fleet is being built for INEOS by SINOPACIFIC. Offshore and Engineering, one of the largest shipbuilders in the world. Each ship is the length of two football pitches and can carry 40,000 barrels of ethane. Steffen Jacobsen, CEO of Evergas, the Danish gas shipping company that designed, leased and operates the vessels, has worked in the shipping industry for 35 years. “These ships represent a world first on many levels,” he said. “No-one has ever tried to ship ethane in these quantities and over this distance before. To do this, we had to invent completely new ways of doing things. These ships are truly unique.” The naming ceremony marked the latest landmark in INEOS’ $1 billion global project to bring shale gas from the USA to its manufacturing plants in Norway and Scotland. INEOS will be the first company in the world to opt to ship shale-gas derived ethane from America where the gas has led to a renaissance in manufacturing. Jim Ratcliffe, INEOS founder and chairman, said the scale of the project, which will help revolutionise the European chemicals industry by bringing US economics to Europe, was extraordinary. “We’re going to move more than 40,000 barrels of gas a day, every day of the year, for 15 years, from the US to Europe,” hesaid. “Any way you look at it, this is an extraordinary achievement.” INEOS names its Dragon Ships vid

    4 minutes read Issue 8
  • GO Run For Fun breaks record

    INEOS GO Run For Fun team has recently staged its biggest-ever event at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London when 6,000 children ran the 2km course alongside a host of Olympians and TV personalities. “We know that many parents worry about their kids eating too much and not getting enough exercise,” said Leen Heemskerk, The GO Run For Fun Foundation Project Director. “The GO Run For Fun charity aims to tackle that problem in a fun way and the huge numbers who took part show that many people share our concerns.” Daley Thompson, the British Olympic gold medal winner, led the charge and handed out some of the prizes. “It was a fantastic day for all the children,” he said. “Everyone had a great time and also learned a bit more about the importance of healthy eating and exercise.” GO Run For Fun is now the world’s biggest children’s running charitable foundation. As well as the run itself, GO Run For Fun also launched a new kids cartoon series based on Dart, the charity’s mascot. Dart TV is aimed at 5 to 10-year-olds and explains the importance of a good diet and regular exercise. During the day Charlie Webster, a former Sky Sports presenter, chaired a round table discussion looking at the need to get children active early if Britain is to tackle childhood obesity. “Physical inactivity is an important factor in the current UK child obesity epidemic,” said Dr PaulSacher, an internationally respected child health and obesity expert. “Considering one in three children are overweight and obese and around 80% of children are not meeting the Government’s physical activity guidelines, it is essential that we support initiatives such as GO Run For Fun.” Daley was joined by Olympic hurdler Colin Jackson, and Commonwealth gold medal winner Louise Hazel. Also supporting the event was Britain’s very own Marathon Man, Rob Young, who has previously set his own world record by running 370 marathons in 365 days. “This was a really important day for GO Run For Fun,” said Jim Ratcliffe, INEOS Chairman andfounder of GO Run For Fun. “On one level, this was about thousands of kids enjoying themselves and learning about the importance of nutrition and exercise. On another level, it is about getting the Government to realise that they need to do much more to help the under 12s get fit and active.”

    4 minutes read Issue 8
  • World-Leading Pioneers Join INEOS’ Team

    The three world-leading experts, who are credited with perfecting shale gas extraction in America, are now working exclusively for INEOS in Europe. Over the next five years petroleum engineer Nick Steinsberger and geologists Kent Bowker and Dan Steward will be advising INEOS how best to safely access Britain’s vast reserves. All three worked for Mitchell Energy & Development, which pioneered the most effective method for safely extracting shale gas in the Barnett Shale in America and led to the development of the shale gas boom in US. “They bring a vast experience of successful shale gas production,” said Gary Haywood, CEO of INEOS’ newly-formed shale team, INEOS Upstream. “We are confident that our US team, together with our own experts, can safely and efficiently develop a successful business in Scotland, which will play a part in securing the energy supply of Scotland and the UK, and will bring significant economic benefits to the country and to the community.” Nick, Kent and Dan have been working in shale gas extraction since the 1980s and are regarded as leaders in their field. Tom Crotty, INEOS Corporate Affairs Director, described Nick as the best on-shore gas petroleum engineer in the world. “INEOS is one of the world’s biggest chemicals companies,” he said. “We are used to safely running huge petrochemical complexes. And now we have some of the world’s leading shale gas experts on our team who collectively have drilled thousands of wells. We believe that the combination of our expertise as a global petrochemicals company and their expertise in shale gas should begin to show people that we are committed to a very high safety standard and the responsible extraction of gas from shale.”

    2 minutes read Issue 7
  • £230m Loan Guarantee Helps INEOS Raise Finance For Grangemouth's Future

    For INEOS’ petrochemicals plant in Grangemouth, the good news continues. Confirmation of a £230 million loan guarantee from the UK government this summer has now helped INEOS to raise the finance necessary to ensure INEOS O&P UK can build a tank to store imports of low-cost ethane from America – and turn its loss-making business into a profitable one. Chief Financial Officer Gerry Hepburn said the government’s financial backing had been seen by INEOS as ‘critical’ to ensuring the long-term future of one of the largest manufacturing sites in the UK. “The loan guarantee shows support for both the UK petrochemicals sector and for one of the most important infrastructure projects in Scotland,” he said. “We have now been able to use the loan guarantee to raise INEOS funds through a public bond issue. The proceeds of the bond are now being be used to fund the ethane tank project.” INEOS has already invested more than £300million at its Grangemouth site as part of its long-term survival plan to ensure the site can manufacture petrochemicals beyond 2017 when its current gas supply agreements end. Traditionally Grangemouth has relied heavily on ethane gas from the North Sea but those supplies are dwindling and the INEOS plant has been forced to run at reduced rates. Importing ethane, which it uses as feedstock, from the US will help INEOS to return its plants to full production and improve operating costs, underpinning the future of manufacturing at Grangemouth. “Without doubt, this is one of the most important projects of recent times in Scotland, with implications to be felt right across the UK, not only for employment but also for manufacturing in general,” said INEOS Chairman Jim Ratcliffe. INEOS has hired Germany-based TGE Gas Engineering to build the ethane storage tank, which will be the largest in Europe and capable of storing 33,000 tons of ethane.  “The construction of the storage tank is complex and needs specialist knowledge,” said John McNally, CEO, O&P UK. “But we know we are working with a company that are truly leaders in their field.”  TGE built the INEOS ethylene import tank in Antwerp, Belgium, and are currently building the ethane import tank at INEOS’ plant at Rafnes in Norway. Planning permission for the construction of the ethane tank at Grangemouth was granted by Falkirk Council in May this year. “It will be very rewarding to see the renewal of the site starting to take shape as we begin construction work,” said Gerry. Danny Alexander, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said the Grangemouth guarantee was fantastic news for Scotland’s economic future, and for the UK’s energy security. The amount of US ethane being imported will enable the ethylene cracker at Grangemouth to double production. 

    2 minutes read Issue 7
  • A Land Of Opportunity

    Having already clinched game-changing, 15-year deals with America to import its low-cost, shale gas-based ethane, INEOS decided it was time to take a look at how the US did it and what lessons Europe could learn. Ships, which the world has never seen before, leave America’s shores for the first time next year. On board each vessel will be thousands of tons of liquefied ethane destined for INEOS’ gas crackers in Europe to help provide raw materials that are running out in the North Sea and to reduce the operating costs of its gas crackers. Every day 40,000 barrels of shale gas-based ethane, which has been chilled to -140 degrees Fahrenheit, will leave Marcus Hook in Philadelphia for Norway and Scotland in the UK. Dragon Boats Vid “Nobody has ever shipped ethane in these quantities around the world before,” said INEOS chairman Jim Ratcliffe. “These vessels have never been designed before and never crossed the North Atlantic before. This is a world first.” INEOS needs ethane to make high value petrochemicals but if its businesses in Europe are to remain competitive, it must ship supplies from America, where there are sufficient quantities at competitive prices. “We are effectively shipping US economics to Europe,” said Jim. The state-of-the-art ships, currently being built in China, are highly efficient and will have double engines so they can operate in the harshest of conditions. Meanwhile INEOS is building new export facilities in the US and storage tanks at Rafnes and Grangemouth. The journey across the Atlantic Ocean will begin at Marcus Hook, the site of a former crude oil refinery, which produced gasoline, diesel, and kerosene for more than a century. About 500 people lost their jobs when the loss-making plant was finally shut down in 2011 due to difficult market conditions. Today it is being transformed into a major centre for processing and shipping natural gas liquids thanks to its links with Pennsylvania’s Marcellus shale industry. “It was a bit of disaster area,” said Tom Crotty, INEOS Corporate Affairs Director. “Much of that town was built around industry with businesses such as the refinery. Jobs depended on it. But suddenly this community, which thought it was dead on its feet, has been brought back to life again, thanks to shale gas.” Marcus Hook is also where Jim and a team from INEOS began their recent, fact-finding tour of America. INEOS, which has invested in its own team of experts to weigh up the pros and cons of pursuing shale gas exploration in the UK, wanted to see – and understand – how it might work in Europe. The group spent a day at Marcus Hook before visiting the Barnett shale field in Texas – home of the very first drilled horizontal well. Explaining how it worked was Nick Steinsberger, described by Tom as the best on-shore gas petroleum engineer in the world. “A lot of others had dabbled and given up, but Nick worked out how to fracture the rock,” said Tom. “He was the first to use what is called slick water hydraulic fracturing to crack open the Barnett shale field in Texas. He opened the door to the development worldwide. He made the breakthrough.” Nick worked for Mitchell Energy & Development when with its founder George Mitchell. The company was sold for $3.5 billion in 2002. Today Nick runs his own business. Nick later escorted INEOS’ delegation to south west Pennsylvania in the Marcellus shale, one of the largest natural gas reserves in the world. “He wanted us to see it because it is similar to Europe with green, rolling countryside,” said Tom. “And now, there are also a lot of strict regulations in place.” For Tom, it was an eye-opener. “One of the public’s biggest concerns is the effect on the countryside,” said Tom. “I had imagined it would be like Texas with nodding donkeys all over the place but in the biggest shale gas area in America, you cannot see anything. There is nothing to be seen, and nothing to be heard. It is just bubbling away like a bottle of pop. The reality is that a single well takes three weeks to drill and one week to fracture, when there is a lot of activity on the site, and then that well can give you gas for anything between 20 and 50 years.” The UK is currently the only country in the EU to seriously consider fracking. Gary Haywood, who is leading INEOS’ shale gas project team, said the British Government had recognised that shale gas had the potential to provide the UK with greater energy security, growth and jobs. “People want an affordable and reliable energy supply,” said Gary. “About 85% of UK homes rely upon gas for heating or cooking, and our indigenous UK supply has now dwindled to less than 50% of our demand. We have a clean energy resource in the UK shale that is ready for development, and this can bring a wide range of benefits to the country. INEOS is keen to be part of this development, and we will be pursuing sensible opportunities to develop shale gas for the company and for the country.” There are currently more than 176 Petroleum Exploration Development Licences (PEDL) for onshore oil and gas in the UK. More on-shore licences were awarded this year. Communities and landowners are being offered incentives to allow companies to drill, but INEOS says they do not go far enough. “We think that communities should share in the benefits if gas is being supplied from under their land,” said Tom. “The offer of £100,000 is not enough to make people think that it’s a great idea so we have announced plans to give 6% of our shale gas revenues to homeowners, landowners and communities close to our wells. We estimate that we will give away over £2.5 billion from our new shale gas business.” Opposition to fracking in the UK has deepened since the protests at Balcombe in West Sussex last year. “The drilling in Balcombe provoked some emotional reactions,” said Tom. “But the issue is that people are not generally well informed about shale gas production. The ‘anti’ lobby have whipped up irrational fear of this technology, largely via misleading propaganda.” Tom and his team are keen to do something about this. “We’ve produced a short film that tells people the real facts around shale gas production. We want the public to hear the real story,” he said. Tom says that the film debunks some of the myths around the impact of shale gas production, and also outlines the important benefits that the industry can bring to the UK. “It is important that people are given all the facts and they can then make an informed decision,” said Tom. “The industry can bring much-needed jobs, and can secure the energy supply for the people of the UK via production of a clean fuel that has half the greenhouse gas impact as coal.” The other big unknown is how continental Europe will respond. “I am not sure how long they can ignore this issue,” said Tom. “Some believe the US has shot its bolt and the gas is going to be gone in a few years time but it won’t. We met companies in the US that had only so far drilled less than 10% of their acreage - there is a long-term industry and supply in place via shale gas production in the US. And renewables will not do the job. Gas is the perfect complement to renewable energy because you need a back up. If the wind does not blow, you cannot turn the fridge off.” INEOS’ 15-year deals with America to import ethane are seen as a stop-gap while Europe makes up its mind. “It buys us time,” said Tom. “It bridges us for the next 15 years until the point when we hope we are going to have an indigenous UK shale industry which can supply that ethane.” Hydrolic Manufac Vid

    20 minutes read Issue 7
  • Cracking Investment

    Shale gas is driving investment in the US, and it shows no signs of letting up. The American Chemistry Council says US chemical investment linked to shale gas has now topped $100 billion. And INEOS is among those parting with their money. INEOS has built one of the largest ethane-cracking furnaces in the world to take advantage of America’s low-cost shale gas. It has invested $115 million in a new furnace at the 2,400-acre Chocolate Bayou Works manufacturing complex in Texas to produce competitive ethylene, a chemical that is used by manufacturers to make everything from soaps to paint to clothes to plastic bottles to cosmetics. “This now means we won’t lose capacity every time we have to take down one of the other six furnaces to clean them,” said Dennis Seith, CEO INEOS Olefins & Polymers USA. “That, in turn, improves our overall reliability.” INEOS now operates the second largest ethylene site in the US and the fifth largest in the world, and thanks to state-of-the-art technology, the new furnace has lower environmental impact. “It produces lower emissions per ton of ethylene production and employs the best available industrial technology for emissions control in the industry today,” said Dennis. INEOS began planning to build the furnace in mid-2011. It was started up in April this year, 28 months after the first construction contract with KBR was signed. The project swallowed more than 564,000 construction man-hours – the equivalent of 60 years – during which time construction workers installed eight miles of new piping and 26 miles of new electrical and instrumentation cable. “It was a tremendous result and one that was delivered safely,” said Dennis. “It also secures the future of our site for the next generation.” The American Chemistry Council says US chemical investment linked to shale gas had now topped $100 billion. As of February this year, 148 projects including new factories, expansions and process changes to increase capacity, had been announced. “This is an historic milestone for America’s chemical industry and proof that shale gas is a powerful driver of manufacturing growth,” said ACC President and CEO Cal Dooley. “Thanks to the shale gas production boom, the United States is the most attractive place in the world to invest in chemical and plastics manufacturing. It’s an astonishing gain in competitiveness.” INEOS’ new furnace will add up to $55 million profit to the bottom line every year. “This has all been part of our plans to add capacity to take advantage of ethane produced from US shale gas and is consistent with our long-term strategy to improve site scale and ability to access low-cost ethane feedstock from shale gas,” said Dennis. The good news for American investment, though, does not end there. In August INEOS and Sasol finally reached an agreement to build a new plant together to produce 470,000 tons of high-density polyethylene a year at LaPorte, Texas. The plant will be built at INEOS’ Battleground Manufacturing Complex and should be operational by 2016. “This investment will allow INEOS to meet our customers’ needs for additional bimodal products,” said Dennis. “It also supports INEOS’ strategy to invest and to capture synergies on our major sites.” The 50/50 joint venture, which was initially discussed by the two companies in July 2013, will use Innovene™ S process technology licensed from INEOS Technologies. The ethylene needed for the production of the high-density polyethylene will be supplied by INEOS and Sasol in proportion to their respective ownership positions. “This project will expand Sasol’s presence in the global chemical market and complement our North American growth strategy,” said Fleetwood Grobler, Sasol group executive for global chemicals. “Its location offers several benefits, including access to US Gulf Coast infrastructure and proximity to our proposed ethane cracker and derivatives complex in Southwest Louisiana.” Access to vast new supplies of American natural gas from shale deposits is one of the most exciting domestic energy developments in decades, particularly for the petrochemical industry. The International Energy Agency believes the US will be self-sufficient in natural gas production by 2015 and oil production by 2035. And in May this year Energy in Depth said CO2 emissions in the United States were now at their lowest level for 20 years.

    4 minutes read Issue 7
  • No Longer A Pipe Dream

    Britain’s reliance on foreign imports of gas and coal hit an all-time high last year. And that dependency is set to increase. By 2020, Centrica, the parent company of British Gas, believes the UK will be importing 70% of the gas it needs. For energy-hungry companies like INEOS, with manufacturing plants in the UK, that’s a major concern and one it can no longer ignore. INEOS is planning to invest millions in creating opportunities for more underground gas storage facilities in the UK. The decision – made by INEOS earlier this year – comes at a time of growing concern over spiralling energy costs in the UK, the security of Britain’s energy supplies and the nation’s increasing reliance on foreign imports. Gas stored in the cavities at the Holford Brinefield in Cheshire will play a part in keeping the lights on in the UK and ultimately keep industrial consumers such as INEOS in business. The benefits for INEOS, though, will actually be twofold. “Even without gas storage, cavities would still be formed as they provide the brine that INEOS needs at its two sites in Runcorn,” said Richard Stevenson, Project Manager at INEOS Enterprises. “The proposed development would simply make use of the salt cavities once all the brine has been extracted.” Controlled solution mining has taken place in the Holford Brinefield since the 1920s. Since that time, over 200 cavities have been safely mined by INEOS and its predecessors. INEOS ChlorVinyls uses the concentrated salt solution to produce chlorine, which keeps most of the UK’s drinking water safe. INEOS Enterprises’ Salt Business also uses it to produce table salt, water softeners and de-icing salt. If planning permission is granted, this would be the third gas storage project at the Holford Brinefield and would create an additional 19 gas storage cavities. Today, a significant number of cavities are in use for the production of brine, eleven are operational for gas storage with a further eighteen being developed for gas storage. The importance of gas storage in the UK should not be underestimated. Recently the Energy and Climate Change Committee called on the British Government to double the UK’s current gas storage by 2020. As such, the proposed development at Holford has been classified as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project, which means – unlike most planning applications – it will not be decided by the local authority. Instead it requires a Development Consent Order from Ed Davey, the current Secretary of State for Energy & Climate Change. INEOS and Keuper Gas Storage Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of INEOS Enterprises Group Limited, are expected to apply for that order early next year. It is hoped Mr Davey will make a decision in 2016 so that construction can start the following year. INEOS would then expect to start storing natural gas in the specially-designed underground caverns from 2020. “This is an important proposal for the UK’s energy security and would provide vital investment and jobs for Cheshire,” said Greg Stewart, INEOS Enterprises’ Operations Director. “It is also a significant investment, which can be delivered without subsidies from the Government.” In March this year Centrica, the parent company of British Gas, warned that the UK would be importing up to 70% of its gas by 2020. Chief executive Sam Laidlaw said Britain’s energy security supply risked becoming the ‘forgotten priority’ of European energy policy. “In the UK an estimated 3.7 Gigawatts of coal-fired generating capacity will be shut down by the end of 2015 as a result of European directives to curb emissions,” he said. “The country’s reserve capacity is forecast to shrink to 4%, increasing the risk of power cuts. Yet no new capacity is being built. The UK’s production of gas is falling rapidly. North Sea oil and gas output has fallen by 38% over the past three years. By 2020 we will be reliant on imports to meet 70% of the country’s gas needs. So when it comes to security of supply, there is a pressing need for solutions.” For a company like INEOS, which uses as much energy as the city of Liverpool to power its plants in Runcorn, it’s not a forgotten matter. It’s very much a priority. The UK became a net importer of energy in 2004. In 2010 it was importing 28% of its supply. Last year it rose to 47% with exports at their lowest level since 1980. Successful development of this project, along with the previous two INEOS supported gas projects in Cheshire, would have a combined ability to deliver up to 40% of the UK’s daily gas storage capability. “If there were a major supply disruption to the UK, the gas stored on the INEOS Enterprises Brinefield, including this project, could help to keep the lights on in the UK for nearly two weeks,” said Richard. Gas from the National Transmission System would be stored in the cavities when demand is low, usually during the warmer, summer months. When the demand increases, it will be fed back into the UK’s National Transmission System. Cheshire is one of the few places in the UK where gas can be safely stored underground due to the geology. The salt stratum is impermeable which means gas cannot pass through it. For more details log on to www.kgsp.co.uk

    4 minutes read Issue 7
  • Why Does It Matter

    The discovery of the Higgs boson particle, which gives substance to everything in the universe, turned physicists into rock stars for a day. It had been spectacularly difficult to find but a generation of physicists were so convinced that it was out there – somewhere – that they persuaded 40 countries from around the world to create the most complex machine ever built to test the theory. But what about the rest of us? Were we actually bothered? Should we care? And why does this discovery matter? INCH went to CERN, close to the INEOS headquarters and listened to some of the scientists involved. It was one of the biggest scientific discoveries of all time. Many physicists, whose careers had been dominated by the search for the elusive Higgs boson, thought they might never live to see it. But the average man, woman and child in the street are still probably wondering what the discovery of the Higgs boson particle has got to do with them, and whether it was worth the £6 billion spent trying to find it, especially in the midst of a global recession. It’s a question that Ainissa Ramirez, a former associate professor of mechanical engineering and materials science at America’s Yale University, understands. “This discovery is up there with Copernicus,” she said. “But people don’t want to know the details of the Higgs. Not yet. They want to know why it is important and how this changes human history.” One thing is certain. It will shape our world. We just don’t know quite how yet. “I cannot promise that the discovery of the Higgs particle will lead to a new type of non-stick pan, or any other concrete change to daily activities,” said Professor Dave Charlton, scientific leader of the ATLAS experiment at CERN which discovered the particle. “It probably won’t. But I hope the person in the street shares the common goal of many people to understand more about the way things work. Pushing the boundaries towards the deep building blocks of the universe is surely a cultural as well as a scientific imperative.” Professor Charlton, who is also a professor of particle physics at the University of Birmingham in the UK, said it was difficult to compare the Higgs discovery with previous historical discoveries, like radioactivity or the structure of DNA. “It’s just too early,” he said. “It can take decades or longer to figure out how such new physics will work through into new technologies. We don’t know what the consequences will be in terms of the next scientific steps. But we do know we have just taken a very big step in establishing how particles can have mass.” To discover the Higgs boson – the particle that gives mass to everything we see and arguably the most coveted prize in physics – scientists needed to recreate conditions less than a billionth of a second after the Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago. And to do this, they needed to build the most complex machine that had ever been built. For 15 years more than 10,000 scientists from 40 countries invested their time and expertise in creating an atom-smasher in a near circular 27km-long tunnel 100 metres (325ft) underground near Geneva, Switzerland. Professor Sir Jim Virdee, from London’s Imperial College, said some of the technology did not even exist when they started designing the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) which would accelerate sub-atomic particles to almost the speed of light and then smash them together. But the discovery of the Higgs boson in July 2012 – and confirmed in March this year – finally showed the world what theoretical physicists Peter Higgs, Robert Brout and François Englert had predicted almost 50 years earlier. Looking into the future, it may solve fundamental questions about the origin of the universe, and, perhaps more importantly, its fate. “We have answered one deep and long-standing puzzle,” said Professor Charlton. “But the discovery has also posed more questions than it has answered. Some of these questions are not new but they are crystallised into real problems by the discovery. They are no longer hypothetical problems.” Ms Ramirez said when the electron was discovered in 1897, its uses were not obvious. “What is obvious today is that we can’t live without electrons, since they run through all our electronics,” she said. CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, was founded in 1954. Its mission was – and still is – to advance the frontiers of technology, find answers to questions about the universe, bring together nations through science and train the scientists and engineers of tomorrow. “Understanding the world around us has been a basic human interest from time immemorial,” said Professor Charlton. “People work together at CERN irrespective of nationality, gender, religion or other distinctions, because we all want answers to these basic questions.” Over the years thousands of scientists and physicists have passed through the doors. When the LHC was switched on in September 2008 to global fanfare, scientists were venturing into the unknown. The machine in their midst was capable of producing enough data to fill 100,000 CDs every second. The challenge would be to find a way to sift through that data to find the only standard model particle that had never been seen. Every second there were about 800 million head-on collisions at almost the speed of light. If scientists had recorded all the data, it would have been like trying to make 50 billion telephone calls all at the same time or listen to songs for 600 years. “Just a fraction of those collisions were of interest so we had to cut it down very quickly to the most interesting events,” said Professor Charlton. Initially there were teething problems. Thirty six hours after the LHC had been switched on, it had to be shut down again due to a faulty electrical wire between two magnets which had been melted by the high current passing through it. The LHC was finally restarted in November 2009 after repairs and the installation of a new safety system. Life without the Higgs Boson would not be life as we know it. Particles would have continued to fly through the universe, never clumping together to form anything. “It is astounding that we understand only a small fraction of the stuff in the universe,” said Professor Charlton. “The next data we take at the LHC could give us deep insights into the dark universe (dark matter) that we do not understand.” The LHC was shut down in February last year for a massive upgrade. When it restarts in January physicists can only imagine what they might find. All they know is this is just the beginning. “There are still many mysteries there,” said Professor Charlton. “We do know now, though, that empty space is not as we had thought. Empty space contains something, an invisible “Higgs field”, which all particles interact with. The discovery of the Higgs boson is a big step forward in our understanding of the deepest structure of nature.” As a professor of particle physics, probing deep into the basic structure of matter and forces, he believes nothing is impossible. “All scientific problems can be attacked,” he said. “Sometimes they may take years or decades to solve, but it should be possible to find answers to how things work. Understanding each new puzzle just takes time and energy and people and money.” Meanwhile, as a major, international laboratory, CERN has now set its sights on something even bigger. It wants to build a new underground machine that would be four times the size of the LHC. The 100km tunnel, which would encircle all of Geneva, would have unparalleled energy levels.

    6 minutes read Issue 7
  • CERN Finds Its Place In History

    Key technologies developed at CERN over the past 60 years have been finding their way into the outside world – and benefiting society. So far, The European Organisation for Nuclear Research can be thanked for giving the world more efficient solar panels, the World Wide Web, touch screen technology and medical imaging to name but a few. “The common drive for knowledge pushes us continuously to look for, and often develop, innovative technologies which are useful to us, as well as to others,” said Professor Dave Charlton. You would assume CERN has always benefited financially through patenting such inventions. But it hasn’t - due to the highly collaborative way it works. As one of Europe’s first joint ventures, its member states pump in millions of euros into the organisation every year to help develop new technologies which means they don’t want to then have to pay to use the inventions in their own countries. In the past CERN simply published details of its inventions in the same way it published its scientific discoveries. In other words, they were freely available. In 2010, though, CERN signed an agreement with the United Nations’ World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) to ensure it benefited from its engineers’ innovations. “Basic science is the driving force for innovation,” said CERN director General Rolf Heuer. “It is therefore vital for organisations like CERN to ensure that their knowledge and technologies find fertile ground for development. The agreement with WIPO will stimulate both organisations to explore joint ventures that may also involve other international organisations.” For CERN has many success stories of which it is proud. Here are just some of them. WWW Early research at CERN led to the World Wide Web. Tim Berners-Lee, one of its computer scientists, wrote and circulated a hypertext project in 1989 so that staff could access reports, notes and databases. A subsequent report was published in 1993. CERN recently celebrated 20 years of putting World Wide Web software in the public domain by restoring the first website to its original web address – http://info.cern.ch/hypertext/WWW/TheProject.html TOUCH SCREEN TECHNOLOGY Apple has long been credited with inventing touchscreen technology with the iPhone but the company simply innovated it. Engineers Bent Stumpe and Frank Beck actually developed the world’s transparent touch screen in the early 1970s which reacted to certain objects like a stylus. It was manufactured by CERN and put to use in 1973. SOLAR PANELS Vacuum technology developed at CERN for particle accelerators is now being used to make a new generation of solar panels with outstanding insulation. Crisoforo Benvenuti, who invented them, said that temperatures of 80 degrees Celsius had been recorded inside the panels even when they were covered in snow. EMAIL ENCRYPTION In May this year three young entrepreneurs, inspired by their time at CERN, launched ProtonMail, a secure email service with a sophisticated encryption system to deter would-be spies. The idea for the company was born in a CERN cafeteria where physicists and engineers regularly meet and share their ideas over coffee. POSITRON EMISSION TOMOGRAPHY (PET) SCANS CERN developed bismuth germanate and transparent lead tungstate crystals for its detectors. Today both types of crystals are used in PET scans which help to diagnose cancer. The PET scan produces detailed three-dimensional images of the inside of the body which can show how far a cancer has spread or how well it is responding to treatment. And accelerator technology, of which CERN is a lead laboratory, is now being used increasingly for medical purposes such as cancer treatment via hadron therapy, which allows to deliver a very localised dose of radiation to a tumour site more precisely than before.

    4 minutes read Issue 7
  • Out Of Harm’s Way

    We live in a world where technology is advancing at an unprecedented rate. But who is driving it? The military or the commercial world? The world owes the existence of some of the most exciting technological developments in history to the military. Necessity was certainly the mother of invention during the 20th century. War demanded the best, focused the mind, pushed the frontiers of what was possible and inspired people to think faster and smarter than the enemy. Computers, thermal imaging, radar, GPS, jet engines, carbon fibre and drones were all developed for the military long before they found a place in everyday civilian life. But the dynamic has changed somewhat. “In the past defence and aerospace were the big drivers of innovation,” said Neil Stansfield, Head of Knowledge, Innovation and Futures Enterprise at the UK Government’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory. “However today, innovation comes from many more sectors and has commercial drivers.” That said, the military’s need for innovation should never be underestimated as access to new technology provides competitive advantage that can quite literally be the difference between life or death. “In some niche areas, the military will always drive innovation and be an early adopter,” said Neil. Only two months ago the US Government’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency unveiled its latest invention – hand-held, gecko-inspired paddles that let humans scale vertical glass walls like Spiderman. Using the new technology, a man weighing 218lb – and carrying a 50lb load – climbed a 25ft vertical glass wall without ropes or hooks. Dubbed the Z-Man project, scientists said they had looked to nature – the gecko – for inspiration to help soldiers gain the high ground in built-up warzones without the need for ropes and ladders. “The gecko is one of the champion climbers in the animal kingdom, so it was natural for us to look to it for inspiration in overcoming some of the manoeuvre challenges that US forces face in urban environments,” said Dr Matt Goodman, the DARPA programme manager for Z-Man. Not only that, but the man-made, reversible adhesives that DARPA created using nanotechnology could one day find their way into everyday life. Whatever part the military finally does play in the future should never detract from the importance of its role in the past. The global positioning system, commonly known as GPS, was invented by the US Air Force in the mid-seventies to guide missiles. Today most of us, including aircraft pilots, sailors and fishermen, use the space-age technology to avoid getting lost. Many mobile phones and modern cars are also equipped with satellite navigation systems which let people know exactly where they are in the world at any time. “All smartphones now come with maps and location services as standard,” said Ben Taylor, Senior Corporate Communications Manager at Vodafone UK. “And Ofcom believes that more than half of all adults in the UK now own a smartphone.” The very first thermal imaging camera was developed for the military in Sweden in 1958 by AGA. The camera’s ability to produce a crisp image in total darkness and through smoke meant it became a valuable tool in combat zones. Today thermal imaging cameras help police to track down suspects in the dark, sailors to navigate at night, fire crews to search smoke-filled buildings for survivors, and rescue teams to locate earthquake victims trapped under tons of rubble. FLIR Systems, the world leader for thermal imaging cameras, said they were also often used to detect gas leaks and scan buildings for signs of poor insulation and damp. The world’s first electronic digital computer was designed by engineers for the US military during the Second World War to help them calculate artillery firing ranges. When ENIAC, as it was known, was finally shown to the public on February 15, 1946, in Philadelphia at Penn’s Moore Building, the press hailed it as a ‘giant brain’. It had cost almost $500,000 but this revolutionary device – as we all now know – changed the world forever. “Without ENIAC, we would not have Google, we would not have Microsoft or many of the things that are driving today’s economy,” said Bill Green, a former Democratic Councilman-at-Large on the City Council of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Another technology that originated in the military is radar, which was developed by several nations before and during the Second World War, and was heavily deployed across the UK as part of an early warning system to detect incoming enemy aircraft. Today radar is used to forecast the weather, help aircraft fly and land safely and enable the police to catch speeding drivers. The British engineer, Sir Robert Watson-Watt, who contributed significantly to the development of radar, was reportedly pulled over for speeding in Canada in the 1950s by a policeman armed with a radar gun. As the officer spoke to him, he is believed to have replied: ‘Had I known what you were going to do with it, I would never have invented it.’ Radar technology also led to the first microwave oven. During an experiment with magnetrons in his Raytheon lab in Massachusetts, American scientist Percy Spencer discovered that the radar transmitters had melted a chocolate bar in his pocket. Amazed, he sent his assistant for a bag of popcorn, spread the corn over the table near the magnetrons and then waited. Less than a minute later, the kernels began exploding. Today drones, first developed as target practice for the military in the 1930s and now heavily used for surveillance and bombing missions, are gaining ground in the commercial world. Civilian air space is expected to be opened up to all kinds of drones in the US by 2015 and in Europe by 2016. And The Federal Aviation Administration in the US estimates that 30,000 civil and commercial unmanned aircraft could be in the skies by 2030. “I certainly saw how the military technology could be used in a commercial environment when I was in the RAF,” said Mark Sickling, who flew drones over Afghanistan and Iraq on both reconnaissance and armed missions from a control base in Las Vegas. He is now chief pilot at Cyberhawk, which uses remotely-operated aerial vehicles to inspect everything from live flare tips at INEOS and Petroineos sites, to wind turbines and off-shore oil and gas installations. Mark said a lot of commercial technology was now being leveraged by the military because of shrinking military budgets. One commercial enterprise, which is carrying out its own extensive research into the use of unmanned drones, is Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer. Last year it announced that it was testing ‘Octocopters’ to deliver packages weighing up to 2.3kg to customers within 30 minutes of them placing the order. “I know this looks like science fiction, but it’s not,” said chief executive Jeff Bezos. “I don’t want people to think this is just around the corner. It is years of additional work. But it will work. It will happen. And it’s going to be a lot of fun.” Craig Roberts, CEO at Cyberhawk, isn’t quite as optimistic as Jeff at Amazon. “It is a lovely idea,” he said. “But it is science fiction at the moment because it could not be done safely within the current CAA restrictions on flying.” In the UK, for example, unmanned aircraft cannot fly higher than 150 metres or within 50 metres of a built-up area or road and pilots must be able to see the aircraft at all times. “Amazon’s idea is a long, long way off,” said Craig.

    7 minutes read Issue 7
  • Rise Of The Drones

    Successful innovation starts when someone finds a gap in the market. Malcolm Connolly, a chemical engineering graduate, found his – dangling off the end of a rope. For 10 years he had been ‘working at height’, inspecting North Sea oil and gas installations, often hundreds of feet in the air and in challenging and dangerous conditions. “He thought there must be an easier way to do this,” said Craig Roberts, who is now CEO of the company that Malcolm founded. There was. Malcolm and his team at Cyberhawk guided the development of a fleet of remote-controlled aerial vehicles that could fly in 28mph winds, operate in high ambient temperatures and inspect flares while live and, it turned out, do a week’s work in an afternoon. One such job saved an off-shore gas drilling and production platform in South East Asia more than $2 million and eliminated the need for their staff to work at height, dramatically improving safety. “In the past they would have had to shut down the plant for seven days to allow time for a rope access crew to access and inspect the flare,” said Craig. Today Cyberhawk, which uses remotely-operated aerial vehicles to inspect everything from live flare tips to chimney stacks, ducting and pipe racks to the underdeck of off-shore oil and gas installations, has an impressive list of clients including Shell, BP, Chevron, Exxonmobil, Total and INEOS and has worked for many of the world’s largest energy companies in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. While the public debate rages on over the ethics of using drones for bombing missions, Cyberhawk is proud of the pioneering work it is doing to lift people out of danger. Video In 2010 when Cyberhawk agreed to inspect an on-shore flare for INEOS Grangemouth, it was venturing into the unknown. No one had attempted to fly an unmanned aerial vehicle within a few metres of a flare tip. After several on-shore flare inspections, Cyberhawk conducted what it understands to be the world’s first off-shore inspection in the North Sea in 2011 for ConocoPhillips. And in 2012 it became the first company to inspect an off-shore wind turbine off the UK coast. “Leading the field, though, has meant we have had to establish our own training and R&D centre,” said Craig. “We believe if you want to grow your company in a dynamic manner, you need to invest in research and development.” INEOS initially hired Cyberhawk to inspect its live flare stacks and chimneys at its Grangemouth plant in Scotland, UK. “In the past INEOS would have had to shut down the flare, with the associated loss in production, perhaps erect scaffolding around the flare tip and then send a technician to the top of the stack, ” said Craig. “Now production can now continue as normal while we inspect the flare and there’s no need for people to work at height or in dangerous areas.” High definition video, photographic and thermal images – captured by the remotely-operated aerial vehicles – allow anomalies to be identified and thermal images help to identify potential problems such as “burn back” where the gases are igniting within the body of the flare. “We can see what a person would see inspecting a shut-down flare but, because we inspect the flares while they are live, we can also obtain thermal images,” he said. “We also inspect all the flare whereas a person would only note the points of interest.” Once the job is done, the results are discussed on-site immediately. Each aerial vehicle is battery-powered, has eight propellers, and may be fitted with a still camera, HD video recorder, gas sensor and a thermal imaging camera. But even with all that kit on board, it still weighs less 2kg. “To illustrate how light and small our aerial vehicles are, we often compare it to a large seagull – at least when we’re speaking to clients who operate in the North Sea,” said Craig. Accidents have been known to happen. But to others. In April this year a UK shop owner became the first person successfully prosecuted by the Civil Aviation Authority for dangerously flying a small unmanned surveillance aircraft within 50 metres of the Jubilee Bridge on the Walney Channel in Cumbria. “It can be a problem because it is easy to buy a hobby kit and fly in a public area without an understanding of how to safely operate the remotely-operated aerial vehicle,” said Craig. “What Cyberhawk does is a million miles away from that.” Cyberhawk’s ‘pilots’ are trained to the highest possible standard – and trained to expect the unexpected. To qualify as an off-shore pilot, Cyberhawk staff must first pass four levels of internal training and certification over-and-above the basic qualification supported by the Civil Aviation Authority. And its services are proving invaluable. “Because we are able to monitor a problem very easily, companies can, despite having an issue, often avoid unplanned shutdowns and stick with their planned shutdown programme,” said Craig. Inspecting live flare tips, though, is only part of Cyberhawk’s success story. It has also used its remotely-piloted aerial vehicles to record the construction progress of a whisky bottling plant, survey a restored opencast mine, inspect meteorological masts at sea and monitor a herd of seals without disturbing their natural environment. INEOS has also used Cyberhawk to film sites for use in short films to help inform its communities.

    7 minutes read Issue 7
  • Getting The Chemistry Right

    Without scientists pushing boundaries, the world would be a very different place. Many of the things we take for granted just would not exist. So how do you convince young people to pursue a career in science and chemistry? It’s a problem for many countries. But planet earth needs scientists if it is to tackle global poverty and global climate change. There’s no doubting that Albert Einstein was a genius. The German-born American physicist may not have learned to swim, but he turned the world upside down with his theory of relativity. Say ‘Einstein’ to the man in the street, though, and he sees ‘an old man, with piercing eyes, wild grey hair in a crumpled laboratory coat’. And that is part of science’s problem. “To many people, science looks like an old man’s game, but it isn’t,” Professor Brian Cox said during a recent interview with a British national newspaper. “Most of the science in the UK is done by people in their 20s. Even Einstein did all his world-changing work when he was a young, good-looking man who drank and misbehaved a bit. So it’s possible to do both.” Professor Cox, a former pop star who had a hit in the 1990s with D:Ream and Things Can Only Get Better, is passionate about opening up science to the masses in the UK. Last year he presented five BBC programmes, entitled Wonders of Life, in which he revealed how a few fundamental laws of science gave birth to life. Beth Regan, a publicist at BBC Factual in the UK, said the series attracted an average of almost three million viewers. “Broadcasters have a big responsibility to rebuild the image of science,” Professor Cox told Daily Telegraph journalist Bryony Gordon. “They need to show that it is not necessarily a game just for super genius people either.” Recent research by King’s College London found that many British children aged 10 to 14 would rather be hairdressers or beauticians than scientists. Although they agreed science was interesting and felt that scientists made a difference in the world, they saw it as a career for ‘highly-talented geeks’ only. “Liking science clearly is not enough,” said Professor Louise Archer, director of the ASPIRES study which presented the findings of the five-year UK Government Department of Education & Professional Studies report. But she felt the negative views of school science and scientists were not the problem. The issue, she said, was a lack of awareness of where science could lead. “Most science qualifications were seen to lead only to jobs as a scientist, a science teacher or a doctor,” she said. Many governments and organisations throughout the world are concerned that not enough young people are opting to study Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) after the age of 16. It has become an international priority issue for governments and industry with widespread concern about the knock-on effects on a country’s ability to compete and innovate in a global economy. “National governments are striving to improve the competitiveness of their countries and, with few exceptions, are emphasising the key role STEM industries have in helping them to achieve their goals,” said Derek Bell, Professor of Education, College of Teachers. Professor Bell was speaking at a global conference of science academies. In all 100-plus delegates from 58 countries came to hear what could be done to improve science education. That was in 2012. Five years earlier The European Commission had warned that there had been an ‘alarming decline’ in young people’s interest in science and mathematics in Europe. It said despite efforts to reverse the trend, any signs of improvement had been modest, and feared Europe’s long-term ability to innovate and remain competitive would be damaged unless more effective action were taken. One of its recommendations was to radically change the way science was taught in primary and secondary schools to a more inquiry-based style. Since then more and more countries have adopted inquiry-based science education, a method of teaching which encourages pupils to pose the questions. In Germany, where inquiry-based science education is now part of the curriculum in many schools, INEOS in Köln is very much in the driving seat. “Since 2008 we have formed strong, well-established, long-term partnerships with 23 primary and eight secondary schools which have adopted the TuWaS! programme,” said Dr Anne-Gret Iturriaga Abarzua, communications manager at INEOS in Köln. “We understand the need to bring relevance to the school curriculum with visits to our sites and employees in the classroom. These partnerships help us as a company, as an industry and also as a developed industrial country to attract young people – especially girls – who are curious, enthusiastic and motivated to make the world a better place through science.” So far, four German states have adopted the TuWaS! programme for children aged 6 to 12. The programme was founded by Freie Universität Berlin Professor Dr Petra Skiebe-Corrette after she had seen a similar model working wonders in Sweden. Teachers attend a one-day seminar during which they are taught the natural science and technical experiments first. They then return to the classroom, armed with a school year’s worth of experiments and the confidence to teach them. INEOS in Köln is the biggest financial supporter in the Rhineland sponsoring almost half of the 70 schools which have adopted the TuWaS! programme. INEOS employees act as ambassadors, and have so far reached more than 6,000 children. “The TuWaS! programme forces children to ask questions rather than receive ready-made answers,” said Andreas Niessen, dean of the Geschwister-Scholl-Gymnasium in Pulheim. At a global academies conference in Finland in 2012, Anne-Gret was invited to speak about how science education and industry could successfully work together. “It was the first time that someone from industry had actually been invited to speak at their conference,” she said. Inquiry-based science education owes its existence to America, where it originated, but the US is also facing an uphill battle in selling science to the masses. In June this year Lisa Coico, President of the City College of New York, said that she was concerned about the dearth of American high school students wanting to major in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. “There is much more to the STEM disciplines than memorisation of formulas and mind-numbing repetitive calculations,” she said. “These fields are on the front line of addressing the most significant challenges facing society, from climate change to environmental health and diseases to next-generation computing and communication technology.” To try to address the decline, the city college has adopted a holistic approach to learning created by the Cooperative Remote Sensing Science and Technology Center. “When we expose students early on to what STEM professionals do, the more likely they will be interested in becoming scientists, engineers, physicians, and more,” she said. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that by the year 2018 there will be 1.2 million new job opportunities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics but fears there will be a significant shortage of qualified college graduates to fill those jobs. Dennis Seith, CEO of INEOS O&P USA, is a member of the Texas A&M University Engineering Council, which is working with the dean of engineering to define industry’s needs and work on teaching methods. The goal is to enrol 25,000 engineering students by 2025 – twice the current number of students signing up. INEOS O&P USA has also set up an initiative to increase INEOS’ access to talent by cultivating relationships with local regional technical schools and training centres and is already helping to develop skills internally by taking on apprentices. It all helps. As a company which needs a continuous supply of highly-skilled, highly disciplined employees, INEOS cannot afford to ignore the problem. Nor is it. At INEOS’ Grangemouth site in Scotland in the UK, INEOS organises a major, two-week Science Engineering and Technology Fair every year, where 2,000 local children are able to gain hands-on experience of science and engineering. “It’s the best way to get young people excited about engineering and manufacturing and dispel any preconceptions that they have about science being a ‘boring’ career,” said Tom Crotty, Corporate Affairs Director. In addition, every year the Royal Society of Chemistry organises the UK Chemistry Olympiad for pupils in the UK, and INEOS has been sponsoring the competition since 2007 to help inspire the next generation to take up science as a career. “INEOS’ support has enabled us to significantly widen participation in the competition,” said Jim Iley, Director of Science and Education at the Royal Society of Chemistry. Others are also driving home the message that science is cool. Elise Andrew launched website www.iflscience.com when she was in her final year of her biology degree at Sheffield University in the UK in March 2012 and in October last year told The Guardian newspaper: “I love that science can never be finished. In science every question answered leads to two more.” Someone who wouldn’t argue with that is Professor Dave Charlton at CERN near Geneva in Switzerland. He said he hoped the discovery of the elusive Higgs boson – the so-called ‘God particle’ – would help to inspire a new generation of physicists and scientists. “At CERN we are always keen to explain our science, and how we do it, to non-experts because an understanding of the methods and concepts of science lies at the basis of our society,” he said. Crisis? What crisis? asks China Science does not have an image problem in China which is now the second biggest economy in the world. A recent report by America’s National Science Board found that over the past 20 years, China had been devoting more and more money to science and technology. In 2011 China became the largest Patent office in the world with 526,000 applications being filed, compared to the USA which in the same year filed some 503,000 applications. And the gap continues to widen. Suwatchai Songwanich, CEO Bangkok Bank, said in a recent article for The Nation Multimedia Group that China’s goal was to be a leader in science education and that China viewed science and technology as critically important to its economic success. “The goal is to transform China from an industrial society into an innovative society,” he wrote. “And one way the government plans to achieve this is to greatly increase the level of investment in research and development, with a target of R&D contributing 2.5 per cent of GDP by 2020.”

    9 minutes read Issue 7
  • INEOS Journeys Into The World Of The Electric Car

    Electric cars are nothing new. Thomas Parker, an Englishman, actually came up with one that ran on rechargeable batteries in 1884. But dwindling resources of fossil fuels and concerns about CO2 emissions are now forcing us as a society to consider them as a serious alternative. Unsurprisingly INEOS has been quick to explore whether to switch to electric cars at its sites around the world. Video Electric cars on their own won’t save the planet. No one disputes that. But it’s perhaps a start. A move in the right direction, at least, towards lowering carbon emissions and creating a more sustainable world for future generations. The difficulty, though, is how do you convince people to change their way of life today without paying more? INEOS’ own journey into the world of the electric car has already begun. At its Antwerp site in Belgium, Köln in Germany and Lavéra in France. Antwerp is currently deciding which road to travel after trialling an e-car on the site, Köln is currently running trials, but at Lavéra, site policy is now to use an electric car for on-site journeys wherever possible. In France companies in the Provence Alpes Cote d’Azur region, which employ more than 250 people, must pledge to help reduce air pollution caused by their own staff. And last year Provence Alpes Cote d’Azur made it mandatory for 30% of a company’s car fleet to be electric or at least cars with low carbon emissions. “There were no sanctions at that time so not everyone abided by these rules,” said Bernard de Chanville, general services manager who also led the project. “But INEOS was – and is – considered as exemplary in this region by its community and local authorities.” Staff at Lavéra actually began testing a range of different e-cars five years ago. “I don’t remember exactly how many we have tested but it is a lot,” said Bernard. “Every time a new model came on the market, we tried it out.” Overall the staff liked the Renault Kangoo ZE van, which has been France’s best-selling all-electric vehicle since 2010. “It is the first really industrial model,” said Bernard. Despite the limited mileage before the battery needs recharging, staff said the van felt safe and was a pleasure to drive. INEOS currently operates nine vehicles for use on the Lavéra site near Marseilles. “Every time a car lease expires, we now look at whether it is possible to choose an e-car,” said Bernard. “Some of our vehicles, though, are also used off-site so the limited battery range of an e-car then becomes an issue.” Despite the drawbacks, the trials at its sites both fit very well with INEOS’ ethos as a company which prides itself on seeking out – where possible – safe, sustainable solutions to today’s challenges. INEOS’ purchasing directors are now investigating what would be needed to equip all its European and US sites with electric cars. “Electric cars are interesting for our site as we don’t need wide ranges, we have low speed limits on site so a reduced speed is a benefit, not a penalty,” said Bernard. If the price – and conditions – are right, INEOS could also become one of the first chemical companies to use energy generated by its own Combined Heat and Power processes to move people and goods around on site. “It is certainly a very innovative idea that would have a positive impact to reduce emissions from on-site vehicles and change attitudes,” said Peggy Gerits, Planning and Logistics Manager at INEOS Oxide in Antwerp, where staff have just finished a lengthy evaluation into the use of e-cars on their site. It would also be good for business for the chemical industry which is involved in the production of many of the components that are used in today’s e-cars, such as polypropylene for bumpers and butadiene for ‘green’, fuel-efficient tyres. The cost, though, is one of the main reasons given by the public for not making the switch to electricity. A two-seater Renault Twizy with a maximum speed of 50mph (80kph) costs about £7,000 (€9,000, $11,000). The short distances that can be travelled before the battery needs recharging is another perceived problem. After about 60 miles (100 km), it will need charging again. But Renault says that by 2020, a subcompact electric car will be cheaper to buy, it will go much further – possibly 250 miles (402 km) before it needs recharging – and be quicker to recharge. Antwerp trials e-car By Jenny Franken (Intern) Staff at INEOS’ site in Antwerp, Belgium started on an interesting journey when they began testing an electric car last year. Back in 2003 Essent build a Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Plant at INEOS Oxide’s site in Antwerp, with surplus power to be fed into the Belgian electricity grid. More recently both companies have sought additional cooperation for using the electricity produced by the cogen unit onsite, to extend the environmental benefits beyond production units on site. Discussions with Essent led to a partnership with 4iS a consulting firm that focuses on electromobility and a trial of electric cars agreed. For two months they were encouraged to use the car to transport equipment and pipes on short journeys around the site. “The car was used for basically every journey that could not be done by bicycle,” said Peggy Gerits, Planning and Logistics Manager at INEOS NV. The trial was a major team effort, involving INEOS, Essent, 4iS, which supports businesses that may want to switch to electric cars, Renault, which offered use of a test car, and Blue Corner, which provided the charging station. Their mission was to raise awareness of what it’s like to drive an electric car and gather feedback. And the feedback was largely positive. Staff said the car was safe, quiet and comfortable, and perfect for the short journeys around the site. Some, though, were concerned that the car posed a potential safety hazard because it was so quiet. They feared people might not hear it approaching or reversing. The other downside was remembering to charge the car’s battery, which could take up to an hour. “Driving an e-car is a different experience,” said Peggy. “It is more relaxed.” The electric car, tested by INEOS staff, had a top speed of 81mph (130kph). “That wasn’t an issue for us because there are strict speed restrictions on the site anyway,” said Peggy. Overall, though, the staff liked it. Cost is the main issue restricting public demand for this new technology. The high cost of e-cars today and the short distances that can be travelled of “just” 140 km-200 km means they are as yet not widely popular. But things are changing rapidly Renault says that by 2020, the range of a compact electric vehicle could be as much as 402 km (250 miles), the charging time will be significantly shorter and the overall cost to produce will be lower. Electric cars on INEOS sites would typically travel short distances. They would be parked on site out of hours, when they can be recharged, so they are a very helpful addition to the sites operation. To make these cars more popular and easier to handle the market has to develop. Future challenges will include reliability and durability of batteries and cost reduction. Antwerp now plans to review their internal car fleet to investigate the possibility of switching to e-cars. If it makes financial sense, INEOS may go down that road. What staff liked 100% emission free Safe Quiet to drive What staff disliked The need to recharge after short distances Time-consuming to recharge Expensive to buy

    15 minutes read Issue 7
  • Out Of This World

    This summer millions of people around the globe tuned in to watch the 2014 FIFA World Cup. But believe it or not, some would say that there was more to life than football as INCH discovered when it went in search of some of life’s more unusual, if extreme, sports and quirky events. Marathon des SablesYou would think Mauro Prosperi’s incredible story of survival would be enough to deter anyone from signing up for the Marathon des Sables, a 158-mile (254km) race across the Sahara desert. But people are queuing up to fork out at least 2,700 Euros to take part. The race, dubbed the ‘toughest footrace on earth’, is the equivalent of running six marathons in temperatures of up to 120°F (49°C). Running in the sand dunes can cause your feet to swell. After three days your feet can feel like concrete slabs. Everyone must carry everything he/she needs for the six-day race except for water. The organisers kindly provide that. All 14 gallons a day of it for each competitor. Mauro, though, is unlikely to ever want to do it again. Twenty years ago the Italian policeman got lost during a sandstorm, ran out of food and water after 36 hours and spent nine days alone in the desert before he was found 186 miles (299km) off course by a nomadic family. He had survived by drinking his own urine and eating bats and snakes. La TomatinaSpain’s Tomatina is the food fight to end all food fights. There are no winners or losers; just a sea of red faces once the battle ends. In the past up to 50,000 people have thronged the streets of Bunol, near Valencia, to pelt each other with 140 tons of overripe, squashed tomatoes. Today organisers sell tickets to just 20,000. Shopkeepers use huge plastic covers to protect their shop fronts throughout the hour-long street battle. A cannon signals the start of the fight and another marks the end. Once it’s over, the town’s streets and walls are hosed down while everyone else takes a shower. The annual festival is believed to have been inspired by a group of teenagers who grabbed tomatoes from a vegetable stall and began to throw them at one another during a parade through Bunol in August 1945. The North Pole Marathon As marathons go, The North Pole Marathon is arguably the coolest. This year armed guards patrolled the marathon route as the 48 athletes from 16 countries braved the threat of hungry polar bears, temperatures of -47C and drifting ice floes to complete the 26.2-mile route. There are always so few competitors that they all merit a mention on the organisers’ official website. Competitor Robert Plijnaar from Holland wore three pairs of socks and three layers of clothing to keep warm. “I started off also wearing a mask and a pair of ski glasses but after 100 metres it was just like looking through an aquarium, so I had to take them off. Unfortunately, it meant I got frostbite around my eyes and nose,” he said. World Tuna TossingIt’s a hammer throwing competition with a twist. Instead of a heavy ball, contestants whirl a frozen tuna around their heads with a rope and then fling it as far as they can. Whoever throws the 17lb blue fin tuna the furthest during the Tunarama Festival at Port Lincoln, in South Australia, is crowned world champion. The Jungle MarathonIf you are frightened of piranhas, it’s probably best to avoid The Jungle Marathon. Organisers say only the brave register for this event, which is deemed to be one of the toughest, wettest and hottest ultra-marathons in the world. And you can see why. Apart from the sweltering temperatures, competitors have to wade through swamps where anacondas lurk, scale steep, slippery muddy slopes, tackle dense undergrowth, cross piranha-infested rivers and spend more than one night in the depths of the Amazon jungle with jaguars and howling monkeys for company. All runners must carry a knife, a copy of their medical insurance and enough food for the seven-day, 158-mile (254km) race to the finish. If you are unlucky enough to need an IV drip, you’ll also find two hours added to your finishing time. Cheese RollingAn American Army veteran last year travelled more than 4,000 miles from his home in Colorado Springs to chase a 3kg large wheel of cheese down a steep hill in Gloucestershire in the UK. Thankfully the trip paid off; he won one of the races and some Double Gloucester cheese. The age-old cheese rolling event at Cooper’s Hill is an annual spectacle that draws huge crowds. Every year spectators watch a bunch of cheese rollers tumble down the hill after the cheese, which can reach speeds of up to 70mph (112km/h). The first person to reach the bottom of the hill wins the cheese. There have been a few minor injuries over the years. In 2009 a spectator was hurt when he fell out of a tree and had to be stretchered off with suspected fractures. Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race pits man and animal against nature, and has been called the ‘last great race on earth’. Mushers and their dogs cover 1,000 miles of the roughest, most beautiful terrain Alaska has to offer, including jagged mountain ranges, frozen rivers, dense forest, and miles of windswept coast, in temperatures often far below zero and winds that can cause a complete loss of visibility. World Bog SnorkellingThere’s not a great deal to see at the World Bog Snorkelling Championships, not least because competitors can only surface from the gloomy, 55-metre, water-filled trenches to check they are heading in the right direction. Still that doesn’t stop the crowds lining the two muddy trenches nor the competitors who last year jetted in from France, Germany, Australia, New Zealand and Canada to dive into the freezing, smelly peat bog. The championships are held every year in Llanwrtyd Wells, the smallest town in Britain. Competitors must ‘swim’ two lengths of the 6ft deep trench without using conventional swimming strokes. But they are not alone. There are lot of creepy crawlies in the water, including the apparently harmless water scorpion. Baby Jumping FestivalOne of the most bizarre – and perhaps mildly alarming – events is The Baby Jumping Festival during which men depicting the devil leap over newborn babies lying on a mattress in the street. The festival, which dates back to the 1620s, is held every year in Castrillo de Murcia of Spain, and is part of the celebrations for the Catholic festival of Corpus Christi. The idea is to purify the babies’ souls, ward off evil spirits and protect them from sin. Tenzing-Hillary Everest MarathonMost of the Tenzing-Hillary Everest Marathon may be downhill but don’t be fooled into thinking that will make your life easy. Organisers of this annual event insist competitors are in Nepal three weeks before the race so they can acclimatise to the high altitude. The three-week ‘holiday’ includes a 14-day trek to the marathon starting point – Everest Base Camp (5364m/17,598ft) – under medical supervision, and an ascent of Kala Patthar (5545m/18200ft) for the best views of Everest. The race itself, which includes two steep uphill sections, criss-crosses highland Sherpa trails of the Khumbu icefall en route to the finish line at Namche Bazaar. Wife-carrying World ChampionshipsFinland may be the birthplace of the Wife-carrying World Championships but men come from far and wide to compete in this epic display of brute strength. Competitors must wade through a metre-deep pool of water, clear hurdles and run as fast as they can with their wives dangled upside down over their shoulders. A wife has to weigh at least 49kg (about 7.7st) or she will be given a heavy rucksack to carry. Dropping her incurs a 15-second time penalty. The man, who completes the 253-metre obstacle course in the shortest time, receives his wife’s weight in beer. The competition began in 1992 and is believed to be rooted in the legend of a hard-faced gang leader who made a habit of stealing women from neighbouring villages. Comrades Ultra Marathon It might only be a recent phenomenon that ultra marathons have gained such popularity but some of them, such as 90km Comrades Ultra Marathon in South Africa have been around for many years. It was run for the first time on 24 May 1921 between Durban and Pietermaritzburg. It is believed to be the world’s largest and oldest ultra marathon race. The direction of the race alternates each year between the “uphill course” (87 km) starting from Durban and the “down hill course” (89 km) starting from Pietermaritzburg. It was the idea of World War I veteran Vic Clapham, to commemorate the South African soldiers killed during the war. Clapham, who had endured a 2,700-kilometre route march through East Africa, wanted the memorial to be a unique test of the physical endurance of the entrants. The constitution of the race states one of its primary aims is to “celebrate mankind’s spirit over adversity”. The race attracts 18,000 runners each year, which included a team from INEOS in 2013, when Jim Ratcliffe, Leen Heemskerk, Chris Woods, Oliver Hayward-Young, George Ratcliffe and Alessia Maresca all successfully completed the course.

    8 minutes read Issue 7
  • INEOS Campaign Gains Ground – And Host Of Supporters

    Last year INEOS said it wanted to inspire thousands of children in the UK to give the TV, the Internet and video games a rest – to get off the sofa – and start enjoying life outdoors. It was an ambitious plan. A huge challenge. But INEOS is not one to run from a challenge. And with the help of little feet, INEOS’ GO Run For Fun campaign has been making huge strides. One of Britain’s most successful Olympic athletes has publicly backed INEOS’ ambitious plans to create the biggest children’s running initiative in the world. Double Olympic gold medallist Sebastian Coe, who was chairman of London Olympics’ organising committee, told guests at the launch of INEOS’ GO Run For Fun Foundation that much had been written about the importance of creating a lasting legacy of the 2012 Games. “GO Run for Fun is exactly what we were talking about,” he said. “INEOS has picked up the torch and run with it in the most profound way.” He was speaking just minutes before 500 children, aged five to 10, from 11 schools celebrated the national launch of GO Run For Fun with a 2km race at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park London, in the shadow of the Olympic Stadium. The run, which mirrored events that have been held all over the UK since August last year, coincided with the launch of the GO Run For Fun Foundation, a new charity aimed at encouraging Britain’s youngsters to run for fun. Earlier INEOS chairman Jim Ratcliffe had also addressed guests and potential sponsors. “I do not feel comfortable asking for money,” he said. “But there has been such an insatiable appetite for us to stage these events that we cannot cope with the demand.” INEOS, which has invested £1.5million (€1.9m, $2.5m) to ensure the campaign’s success over the next three years, said there was enormous potential for it to grow way beyond the initial aim of 100,000 children. The Foundation is the first step to securing vital funding from government and businesses so that the GO Run For Fun team can run even more events with schools and local clubs across the UK and beyond. “Children used to be a lot more active when I was young,” said Jim. “We used to cycle, run or walk everywhere. Today they have a lot more distractions, and spend more time indoors playing on games consoles and smart phones than outside playing. It also doesn’t help that governments sell off school playing fields.” The World Health Organisation now regards childhood obesity as one of the most serious global public health challenges for the 21st century. And obesity is linked to diabetes, heart disease, cancer and dementia. And more worryingly for the UK, Public Health England says 30% of children aged two to 15 are now overweight or obese. “The biggest health issue in my parents’ day was smoking,” said Jim. “Now it’s obesity.” INEOS’ campaign is about encouraging children to get active, and start running again. For fun. So far the campaign has won an army of supporters, including some of Britain’s best athletes - Brendan Foster, Baroness Tani Grey Thompson, Colin Jackson and Sharron Davies. Teachers, whose schools have taken part in one of the all-inclusive events all over the UK, are equally as impressed and understand the importance of leading by example. “I think teachers can be huge role models in encouraging children, who may never have run before, to take part in events like this,” said Claire Snailham, a teacher Ivy Chimneys Primary School, Epping, Essex. Claire, whose father was a PE teacher, escorted 90 children to Olympic Park for the celebrity-led fun run. “The children didn’t take any notice of the rain,” she said. “It was so exciting for them to be running at Olympic Park and they loved it mostly because it was for fun and not just a competition for the fastest runners.” The run, which was started by Sky Sports News presenter Charlie Webster, also signalled the start of the race to find sponsors. And that, by all accounts, is now going well too, with INEOS’ a number of companies already inspired to offer their support for the upcoming year. “We have had positive support from quite a few companies already and we are in discussion with many more,” said Leen Heemskerk, the Chief Financial Officer at INEOS O&P Europe (North) who is also leading the GO Run For Fun campaign. The appeal for more support, though, did not end there. On June 5, Jim – plus 20 school children and one very large mascot called DART – lobbied politicians at the Houses of Parliament about the growing need to tackle childhood obesity. “Parents worry about their children’s increasingly inactive lifestyles and we want to help them,” said Jim. “But decisive action is needed by the Government immediately in support of kids, to give them the opportunity to do more exercise. Inactivity can no longer be ignored.” He said despite the number of reports highlighting the problem, little had been done by any of the political parties. “I met a number of parliamentarians and they all agreed that something must be done so it is disappointing that there is so little action being taken on this issue,” said Jim. The parliamentary reception was hosted by Alex Cunningham and provided Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, Charlie Webster and Brendan Foster, with an opportunity to remind politicians of the need to build on the Olympic legacy and agree a clear policy. Video GO Run For Fun goes on tour Continental Europe also got a taste of INEOS’ GO Run For Fun campaign this summer. Events were held in Rolle (Switzerland) home to INEOS’ head office, and in communities close to INEOS sites in Antwerp (Belgium) and Köln (Germany). In all, more than 3,000 children aged between four and 12 took part in 11 runs. On hand to cheer them on and ensure each event ran smoothly were hundreds of staff from all three sites who willingly turned out to act as first aiders, marshals and hand out T-shirts. “It was heart-warming to see so many big smiles on the little faces,” said Katrien Poppe, Personnel and Communications Manager at INEOS Oxide who helped to co-ordinate the events with Nadine Ceustermans from the Geel site in Belgium. “Everyone was very enthusiastic.” The events in Belgium proved so popular – more than 1000 children, aged between four and 12, took part in six runs – that the local athletics clubs and schools are already asking INEOS to run them again next year. “The organisers were all very surprised at how fit Belgium children are but obesity is not really a problem in Belgium,” said Katrien. In June 1,500 children took part in four events in Germany. Olympic medallist, pole vaulter Björn Otto attended the first run. “It is very important that children get an early interest in sport because sport in any form is important for the future and development of children,” he said. The Dietrich-Bonhoeffer-Schule in Pulheim was one of the schools which took part. “It was a wonderful event,” said teacher Steffi Nickel. “And I am so glad that I encouraged my class to take part in it.” Dr Anne-Gret Iturriaga Abarzua, Communications Manager at INEOS in Köln, said childhood obesity was now becoming a problem in Germany. “Many schools already have a yearly sponsored run as part of their curriculum,” she said. The Swiss event saw 800 children from schools and sports clubs in Rolle, Nyon, Vich and Lausanne run 1.6km at the at the football ground in Rolle. “Getting Children excited by running at an early age is so important and means that they are more likely to continue later in life,” said Marisa Lavanchy, the Swiss record holder for the 4 x100 metre relay who started the race with Lausanne Hockey Club defender Federico Lardi. “Go Run For Fun is a wonderful initiative that helps achieve this. Who knows we might be encouraging the next generation of Swiss champions.” GO Run For Fun is planning to include more venues in its programme next year as it builds on a successful 2014 programme, which has attracted more than 35,000 children to date.

    10 minutes read Issue 7
  • Market Forces At Work

    INEOS is on the brink of creating a world-class chlorvinyls business. But the INOVYN joint venture with Solvay has achieved something else; it has given one of its other businesses, which until now had kept a relatively low profile, a chance to shine, as Ralston Skinner explained to INCH. Video Demosthenes – arguably the greatest of Greek orators – once said that small opportunities were often the beginning of great enterprises. One who firmly believes that is Ralston Skinner, General Manager of newly-formed INEOS ChloroToluenes. The speciality chemicals business, which employs about 100 people, is about to stand on its own merits for the very first time. And Ralston is excited at the prospect of what it can deliver. To its customers around the world. And to the bottom line. “The business used to be part of the much larger INEOS ChlorVinyls where it was understandably a low priority strategically,” he said. “But all that has now changed with the INOVYN joint venture.” In short, a perhaps neglected bit of the business is about to take centre stage. Most of those who work for INEOS ChloroToluenes are based in Tessenderlo, Belgium. The rest are either in Maastricht in The Netherlands or Runcorn in the UK. The business, which has an annual turnover of 80 million Euros, sells about 50,000 tons of products every year. “With the right strategy, we’d hope to double turnover in the next three years,” said Ralston. Despite its current size, it is one of the top three manufacturers of chlorinated toluene derivatives in the world. “There aren’t many of us,” said Ralston. “In Europe there are only two or three big players who produce benzylchloride. There are no producers in Japan and just one in the US. That presents a massive opportunity for us. The market is there. We just need to develop our innovative logistics platform and we know the customers will want to do business with us.” In the world of chemistry, benzylchloride is the one we cannot live without. “It really is the building block for everything you can imagine,” said Business Manager Bruno Stockhem. “You name it – cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals, paints – it owes its life to it.” INEOS’ main competitor is in Europe. It may have similar technology but there the similarity ends. “Their heritage is completely different to ours,” said Ralston. “We have developed our products into different sectors.” ”They focus on cresols, the precursors for anti-oxidants, pharmaceuticals and personal hygiene such as toothpastes and mouthwash, whereas we produce products that are used to make things such as disinfectants, agrochemicals, paints, fragrances and resins,” he adds. The demand for agrochemicals – fertilisers, herbicides and pesticides, which are used by farmers in the production of crops – is one that is growing rapidly in the developing world. The United Nations believes that 9.2 billion people will be living on Earth in 2075. More people means more mouths to feed and a shortage of arable land. Agrochemicals improve productivity by helping farmers to tackle pests and weeds that can wipe out entire harvests. Last year Latin America’s agrochemical market grew by around a quarter to around $14 billion, with the world agrochemical market predicted to reach $223 billion by next year. In May The Crop Protection Association welcomed the UK Government’s commitment to do more to boost domestic agricultural productivity, but urged the European Union to adopt a similar approach. “Unfortunately, our European colleagues seem to be unaware of the role their continent must play in optimising agricultural productivity,” said Nick von Westenholz, CEO of The Crop Protection Association. “We see this most vividly with EU policy-makers taking an overly precautious approach to crop protection technologies. This has meant that many of the key crop protection products our farmers rely on are, or are at risk of, being taken off the market, even though they have been proven to be safe and are subject to one of the most stringent approvals processes in the world.” INEOS says the demand for agrochemicals is coming from Brazil, China and South Africa – all countries which have seen rapid agricultural development and want to become more efficient. “There is a real growth market for this kind of product in those countries,” said Ralston. “The growth is certainly not coming from Europe.” INEOS ChloroToluenes’ benzyl alcohol is also used in the production of anti-fouling marine paint which stops barnacles and algae from clinging to the hulls of ships, and slowing them down. It may be a small market, but it’s an important one. “Barnacles are actually a real problem because ships burn excess fuel when their hulls are encrusted with sealife,” said Ralston. “That in turn leads to increased carbon emissions.” Producing niche, speciality chemicals, which are not easy to replicate, is what INEOS ChloroToluenes is good at. “A lot of our customers are also relative specialists,” said Ralston. “So we might make one product for one customer. But we benefit when our customers find new, innovative uses for our products.” Looking ahead, there are opportunities, challenges and threats. INEOS faces a logistical challenge if it wants to increase exports to Japan and the US. “Japan has traditionally been supplied by China but we are looking at what we need to do to compete with China,” said Ralston. “It is going to be down to clever logistics but what we are good at is finding innovative ways to reach awkward destinations with awkward quantities.” The fear of increased EU regulation, which makes it difficult or uneconomic to exports chemicals, is always a danger. “There’s always the chance that one of our chemicals could be added to the ‘at risk’ list which makes it uneconomical,” said Ralston. As INEOS ChloroToluenes’ plans to grow its business by shipping chemicals around the world, it is also important that it is able to secure its supplies of toluene, which it mixes with chlorine to make all its products. INEOS ChloroToluenes currently buys most of its toluene from other companies. It knows that a reliable supply is key to its success and is continually looking at new ways to make sure this is not left to chance. “That’s why we are looking at projects which can also bring toluene from INEOS’ facility in Koln, Germany, to our plant in Belgium,” said Ralston. “That way we ‘keep it in the family’.”

    10 minutes read Issue 7
  • Chorus Of Approval

    Safety is INEOS’ top priority. And everyone in the company knows it. But it’s always heart-warming when industry experts recognise what the company is striving to achieve – and publicly acknowledge it. The voice of the chemical industry in France has named Petroineos as worthy winners of a prestigious national award for its innovative approach to caring for the well-being of its staff. The Union des Industries Chimiques, The French trade association for the chemicals sector, presented the Lavera site with the Responsible Care award in the occupational health category for the way the company now prevents staff being exposed to certain products. “The use of biological indicators of exposure in itself is not new,” said Jacques Willocquet, HSSE manager at the French site. “But in most cases it is limited to a yes/no response. What we have done is introduce a rigorous statistical analysis of thousands of results, which allows us to detect the slightest change so we know if a member of staff has been exposed to even a small amount.” The award is presented every three years. This year’s award ceremony coincided with the Journées de la Chimie, which meant the event was attended by many high-profile guests, including Arnaud Montebourg, France’s Industry Minister. “Apart from the fact that the award reflects well on INEOS’ reputation in the petrochemical industry, it also shows the staff how tracking relentlessly weak signals is helping us to better care about their health,” said Jacques. Petroineos beat 17 other companies to win the occupational health category. Across the Atlantic, staff at INEOS’ O&P Battleground Manufacturing Complex (BMC) in Texas were also celebrating after picking up four awards at the Texas Chemical Council’s (TCC) annual awards. The plant won the Caring for Texas Award, the Zero Contractor Incident Rate Award and the Distinguished Safety Service Award in recognition of its exemplary safety performance last year. But the big award of the night went to Bob Bradshaw for his outstanding leadership skills in managing the plant safely. He won The Gerald R. Ehrman Award for Management in honour of Jerry Ehrman, a retired plant manager of the Sabine River Works in Orange, Texas, who was extremely dedicated to occupational safety. The award is presented to just one site manager every year – if one merits it. But so far it has only been presented to two people in the past four years and one of those was Bob. “The award is only given to a plant manager who embodies the same leadership and dedication to safety management as Mr Ehrman,” said Morgan French, BMC SSHE Manager. “Bob is unrelenting in his goal to make sure everyone who works at the site goes home at the end of their shift safely, every day. He demonstrates a genuine personal commitment to safety excellence and challenges everyone who works with him to attain a comparable level of personal safety excellence.”

    3 minutes read Issue 7
  • Debate: Can Religion and Science Co-exist? 

    The late German-born physicist Albert Einstein believed that science without religion was lame, and religion without science was blind. But the debate over whether science and religion can co-exist has been going on since the dawn of mankind and continues to divide opinion even today, as INCH discovered. I am convinced that evolution and religious beliefs need not be in contradiction. Indeed, if science and religion are properly understood, they cannot be in contradiction because they concern different matters. Science and religion are like two different windows for looking at the world. The two windows look at the same world, but they show different aspects of that world. Science concerns the processes that account for the natural world: how planets move, the composition of matter and the atmosphere, the origin and adaptations of organisms. Religion concerns the meaning and purpose of the world and of human life, the proper relation of people to the Creator and to each other, the moral values that inspire and govern people’s lives. Apparent contradictions only emerge when either the science or the beliefs, or often both, trespass their own boundaries and wrongfully encroach upon one another’s subject matter.Francisco Ayala, biologist, University of California, Irvine Observe: science and religion *do* coexist. The first scientists were clergymen. Today, religious institutions from universities to the Vatican Observatory support professional science. And the proportion of scientists who are themselves believers mirrors the fraction in the general population. Science is based on the religious assertion that Creation is orderly, free from the interference of nature gods, and worthy of study. So who continues to push this myth of a “conflict”? What is their agenda? Jesuit Brother Guy Consolmagno, astronomer at the Vatican Observatory Religion and science are like oil and water. They might co-exist, but they can never mix to produce a homogeneous medium. Religion and science are fundamentally incompatible. They disagree profoundly on how we obtain knowledge of the world. Science is based observation and reasoning from observation. Religion assumes that human beings can access a deeper level of information that is not available by either observation or reason. The scientific method is proven by its success. The religious method is refuted by its failure.Victor J. Stenger, Emeritus Professor of Physics, University of Hawaii Personally I’m not religious at all, but I have religious scientists as friends and they seem to manage just fine. I think those people are more likely to take some religious things a bit less literally though, like a religious geologist probably wouldn’t think that the Earth and everything else was actually made by God 6000 years ago, since their science tells them that the Earth is 4.5 billion years old.Grant Kennedy, astrophysicist, University of Cambridge Science and religion are not at odds. Science is simply too young to understand. Whether or not you believe in God, you must believe this: when we as a species abandon our trust in a power greater than us, we abandon our sense of accountability. Faiths, all faiths, are admonitions that there is something we cannot understand, something to which we are accountable. With faith we are accountable to each other, to ourselves, and to a higher truth. Religion is flawed, but only because man is flawed. Science tells me God must exist. My mind tells me I will never understand God. And my heart tells me I am not meant to.Dan Brown, author of Angels & Demons Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality. When we recognise our place in an immensity of light-years and in the passage of ages, when we grasp the intricacy, beauty, and subtlety of life, then that soaring feeling, that sense of elation and humility combined, is surely spiritual. So are our emotions in the presence of great art or music or literature, or acts of exemplary selfless courage such as those of Mohandas Gandhi or Martin Luther King, Jr. The notion that science and spirituality are somehow mutually exclusive does a disservice to both.The late Carl Sagan, American astrophysicist From religion comes a man’s purpose; from science, his power to achieve it. Sometimes people ask if religion and science are not opposed to one another. They are: in the sense that the thumb and fingers of my hands are opposed to one another. It is an opposition by means of which anything can be grasped.The late William H. Bragg, British physicist Religion and science are indeed incompatible. Religion and science both offer explanations for why life and the universe exist. Science relies on testable empirical evidence and observation. Religion relies on subjective belief in a creator. Only one explanation is correct. The other must be discarded. Explanations require evidence. None exists for a creator outside the human mind, whereas the evidence for evolution and the origins of life mounts every day. In the face of this uncontradicted evidence, religious belief in a divinity is no more viable than belief in the now-proverbial Flying Spaghetti Monster.Lorna Salzman, American environmental activist There is a fundamental difference between religion, which is based on authority, and science, which is based on observation and reason. Science will win because it works. I believe the universe is governed by the laws of science. The laws may have been decreed by God, but God does not intervene to break the laws. When you look at the vast size of the universe, and how insignificant and accidental human life is in it, the existence of a God seems most implausible.Physicist Stephen Hawking

    5 minutes read Issue 7
  • INEOS Joins The Revolution

    INEOS has gone into partnership with a company that has developed a unique product which could help to save the rainforest. INEOS Compounds will be using its expertise to help increase the company’s sales of Resysta, a recyclable material made primarily from rice husks and PVC that looks and feels like wood but, unlike wood, does not splinter, crack, rot, swell or fade. “Japanese companies have been trying to mix rice husks and polymers since the 1960s but they have never come up with a sellable product,” said Roland Stoiber, chief operations officer at Resysta International. INEOS Compounds’ Swiss site in Sins, near Lucerne, began working with Resysta International last year. “Since then it has become the second biggest business for us at Sins,” said Managing Director Thomas Breitwieser who is championing the project. Resysta International was won over by INEOS’ innovative approach, its ability to think and act quickly, its hard-working ethos, its knowledge of the European market, its excellent contacts and its manufacturing capabilities. “We had a good relationship right from the beginning and we trusted each other to work hard together to build a market that is worth billions of Euros,” said Thomas. INEOS Compounds, one of the top manufacturers of PVC compounds in Europe, will manufacture Resysta at its plants in the UK, Switzerland and Sweden and sell it directly to INEOS’ customers. It will also sell some of the raw materials, on behalf of Resysta International, to its biggest customers who may wish to mix the chemicals themselves. “It is wonderful to be part of placing a brand new PVC-based product in the market,” said Thomas. “That sort of thing only happens maybe every 30 years because PVC is already the most field-tested plastic in the world. But we will be developing the product alongside Resysta International as new sales opportunities are unearthed. It has huge market potential.” Leroy Merlin, one of the top five D-I-Y stores in France, recently named it as their product of the year. The main ingredient of the material, which can be used in a huge range of ways in the construction and furniture industries, are rice husks which would otherwise be burned as a waste product in the Far East where it was first developed. The rice husks are then mixed with PVC components. The trade in tropical hardwoods, such as mahogany and teak, has long been seen as a major reason for the destruction of the rainforests. This changes all that. “Some miracles happen and some are invented,” said Roland. “Even salt water, sun and wind, when other materials give up, Resysta carries on. This is the key innovation to what was needed to address the shrinking rainforests and the inferior quality of previous wood composite products. It has opened a new market to all PVC resin producers.”

    3 minutes read Issue 7
  • INEOS To Buy Out BASF Stake In Styrolution

    INEOS has agreed to buy out fellow chemical company BASF’s 50% stake in its styrene plastics joint venture for €1.1 billion. The deal, subject to regulatory approval, will see INEOS take full control of Styrolution which makes plastics for cars, electronics, toy and the construction industry. “We are pleased to bring Styrolution fully into the INEOS family,” said INEOS Capital chairman Jim Ratcliffe. As part of the joint venture agreement signed in October 2011, INEOS always had the right to buy out BASF. The joint venture had been set up to create a company that was capable of competing effectively with large-scale producers from Asia and the Middle East.  “Styrolution has fulfilled that promise,” said Jim. Styrolution is the leading, global supplier of styrenics, which also ensure computer casings and monitors are strong and heat resistant. Four out of five printers in the world are produced with a casing made from Styrolution. Today the business employees about 3,200 people worldwide at 17 manufacturing sites in 10 countries. Once the deal is completed, the business will operate as a standalone company within INEOS Industries Holdings Limited.

    1 minute read Issue 7
  • World Class Thinking

    Innovation isn’t just about developing new products. Sometimes it’s about just thinking differently, as INEOS did in 2009 and has now been publicly recognised for it. At the 2nd annual Petrochemicals Awards of Excellence in Berlin, Germany, INEOS beat strong competition from industry giants DOW and BASF to win the prestigious award for its ‘outstanding contribution to the chemical industry’. The award recognised INEOS’ ambitious and innovative plan to be the first company to ship ethane derived from shale gas from America to Europe to secure the long-term competitiveness of its European crackers. “We are one of the very few who could have undertaken such a move,” said Fernando Mota, INEOS Feedstock, Energy & CO2 Manager. “We saw the opportunity early and moved quickly in this rapidly developing arena.” The first shipments of gas will arrive next year, heralding an exciting new phase in the European petrochemicals industry and effectively moving INEOS’ crackers at Rafnes in Norway and Grangemouth in Scotland into pole position to compete. 

    1 minute read Issue 7
  • European Commission Clears Way For Joint Venture With Solvay

    INEOS and Solvay have signed a definitive Joint Venture Agreement to create a leading PVC Producer to be called INOVYN. The two companies announced their plans to join forces in May last year but it took until May this year for the European Commission to approve the proposed joint venture.  Together they will have combined sales of 4.3 billion Euros, employ about 5,650 staff in nine countries and rank among the top three producers in the world. But first they must implement an agreed remedy package for the divestment of five INEOS-owned assets – the membrane chlorine plant and EDC/ VCM plants at Tessenderlo, Belgium, the PVC plants in Mazingarbe, France, and Beek in the Netherlands, the PVC and VCM plants at Wilhelmshaven in Germany, and the British EDC plants in Runcorn. The Commission also wants Runcorn’s membrane chlorine plant to be placed in a joint venture between the INEOS/ Solvay joint venture and the new owner of the five affected plants. Once all that has been done, the JV can go-ahead. “The newly combined business, which will be of world scale, will be able to better respond to rapidly changing European markets and to match increasing competition from global producers,” said INEOS chairman Jim Ratcliffe.

    1 minute read Issue 7
  • EPS Qatar Signs Deal With INEOS Technologies

    INEOS has licensed its expandable polystyrene (EPS) technology to EPS Qatar for its planned complex in Qatar. The plant, which will produce a wide range of expandable polystyrene grades to satisfy the growing regional demand, will be the biggest EPS unit in the Middle East and North Africa region.  EPS is a lightweight, strong thermoplastic product with excellent thermal insulation, which makes it ideal for the packaging and construction industries.   Initially the plant will be able to produce 50,000 tons per year but will have the capacity to double production.

    1 minute read Issue 7
  • INEOS’ Global Appeal

    INEOS Technologies has agreed to supply four state-of-the-art BICHLOR™ bipolar electrolysers to HF Chlor-Alkali’s new manufacturing plant in the US state of Iowa. Using INEOS’ technology, the new plant in Eddyville will be able to manufacture caustic soda, muriatic acid and bleach for an adjacent food processing facility and other Midwest facilities. INEOS BICHLOR™ electrolysers have now been sold to 56 projects around the world.  The biggest plant using the technology is in Runcorn in the UK, where 20 BICHLOR™ electrolysers produce more than 1,000,000te of chlor-alkali products each year.

    1 minute read Issue 7
  • Entrepreneurial spirit

    When great minds think alike, unbelievable things can happen, as INCH discovered when it looked for evidence of entrepreneurship at work in INEOS. Eleanor Roosevelt said the future belonged to those who believed in the beauty of their dreams. It also belongs to those who are prepared to challenge the present. At INEOS, that is an approach which is actively encouraged, celebrated and rewarded. It wants to empower its people so that they see opportunities to run the business better – from wherever they are sitting – and have the drive to make the change happen. In 2009, during the worst global recession in decades, INEOS did exactly that. It saw an opportunity, moved fast with a clear strategic vision and wrote a new chapter in the history of European petrochemicals. “It was a game-changer,” said Bill Reid, business director for Olefins & Polymers Europe (North). Demand in Europe had been shrinking fast, profits were plummeting, Europe’s crackers were closing, and INEOS’ main competitor went bust. To make matters worse, the gulf between energy and feedstock prices in Europe and America was beginning to widen as the US found a way to unlock vast reserves of previously untapped gas, from shale. “They were arguably the darkest of days for our business, as they were for manufacturing generally,” said Bill. Desperate times, though, call for radical thinking. INEOS decided if it could not do anything to drive down Europe’s crippling energy costs, it would ship America’s cheap shale-derived ethane gas to Europe to help reduce its operating costs and maintain a competitive, global olefins and polymers business. The plan worked. In 2012 INEOS managed to complete a seemingly impossible sequence of deals to finally secure, 15-year contracts with the three companies that would be responsible for the drilling, distributing, liquefying and delivering hundreds of thousands of tons of ethane every year from America to Norway and Scotland. It also began building a gas storage tank and terminal at its Olefins & Polymers plant in Rafnes. When the shipments start arriving at Rafnes next year, INEOS will be the first petrochemical company in Europe to import cheap gas from the US and receive the competitive advantage of ‘shale economics’. “No one had thought to do this,” said Gerd Franken, CEO of Olefins & Polymers Europe (North). INEOS’ Grangemouth site in Scotland in the UK will also see the benefits of such entrepreneurial thinking when Britain starts to take delivery of US shale-derived gas from 2016 to supplement declining North Sea feedstocks. The £300 million investment in a new import terminal incorporating a 40-metre high ethane tank, capable of holding 33,000 tons of ethane, will help to turn a loss-making site into a profitable site. Such entrepreneurial thinking is embedded in INEOS’ culture. Employees don’t just want to make a living; they want to make a difference. And, more importantly, they believe they can. Overcoming obstacles, seeing new ways of working, thinking laterally, and regularly challenging the status quo are all in a day’s work at INEOS. The company’s entrepreneurial spirit is there too in its approach to acquisitions, its strategic vision and its ability to make critical decisions quickly. From the top down, INEOS encourages everyone to not just see problems, solutions and opportunities, but to come up with ideas to do something about them, as INCH discovered.

    5 minutes read Issue 6
  • The INEOS Difference

    INEOS is different. You can see it in the faces of those who work for the company and feel it in the air. There is a buzz about the place. Over the years INEOS may have grown into the world’s third largest chemical company, but it has not lost its spirit.    Working for INEOS promotes independent thinking. But what’s good to know is that there is a team behind you to help, if necessary. To me, entrepreneurship means seizing the initiative, inspiring others and driving results.Stijn Dekeukeleire RTD engineerINEOS Oxide, Belgium  Having worked for a more traditional ‘blue chip’ chemical company in the past where life was safe and ‘cosy’, the INEOS environment is much more challenging and demanding. But, because of that, I feel more involved and able to make a difference and, as a result, I enjoy the job a lot more. INEOS constantly looks to maximise business opportunities through innovative solutions whether these are technical, commercial or financial.Dave HartINEOS Nitriles, Seal Sands, UK  INEOS doesn’t accept that things need to be done in a certain way, just because that’s how they’ve always been done. The company likes to challenge convention and is constantly striving to achieve the same results while driving down costs. I like the fact that I work for a company that challenges you to seek your own solutions but it can be challenging, at times frustrating and sometimes uncomfortable.Paul McNultyINEOS Nitriles, Seal Sands, UK  Encouraging employees to seek solutions to their own problems results means we feel involved in our own destiny. Such a spirit also creates an environment which allows us to easily build solid networks with people within INEOS and outside the company.Johan LootsSr. production engineer utilities + energy & carbonINEOS Oxide, Belgium  INEOS is an inspiring environment that allows you to go as far as your mind lets you. So often people believe working long hours is the way to go, but working on the right things is probably more important than sitting at a desk for hours on end. The secret is to get focused and stay focused and trust your own instincts. Because our business is constantly changing, we must adapt to the changing circumstances and set new goals and implement smarter solutions. Believing in yourself makes it so much easier to win over others to achieve the same goals. You can sit around and analyze forever if you want, but while you are doing that the competition has moved on.Peggy GeritsPlanning & logistics managerINEOS Oxide, Belgium AT INEOS we are encouraged to think ‘outside the box’ to find solutions to problems and develop the business. You can see new possibilities every day at work. Although we are all different and have different features and characteristics, innovation is one we all share.Carita JohanssonHR specialist/communications officerINEOS ChlorVinyls, Stenungsund, Sweden  INEOS is definitely an entrepreneurial company in how it develops its businesses, products and people. It is both stimulating and rewarding to be given the freedom to think differently and see new possibilities opening up. And there is evidence of it at work, be it in how we safely run the business or constantly try to reduce our impact on the environment.Kjell AnderssonConstructorINEOS ChlorVinyls, Stenungsund, Sweden INEOS feels like a newborn company even though it was founded 15 years ago. It cuts through the nonsense and challenges it to seeks solutions to its own problems. I have worked for other companies where I have become so bogged down in bureaucracy and hit so many brick walls that I lost enthusiasm to work for them.Debbie ClarkPA/office managerINEOS Group, Hampshire, UK  INEOS operates very differently compared to other companies, especially in the chemical industry. People who like hierarchies will be lost here. INEOS forces you to think differently, to be flexible and straightforward and work beyond conventions. If you’re someone who feels comfortable with that, who enjoys an immense amount of freedom and wants to make a difference, then this is the company for you. It is great to have no limits apart from the ones you set yourself. Here we are encouraged to try new paths, to explore fresh ideas, and to see the bigger picture. INEOS is about the passion – and a will – to drive things forward.Dr. Anne-Gret Iturriaga AbarzuaHead of corporate communicationsINEOS Olefins & Polymers Europe North I certainly view INEOS as an entrepreneurial chemical company because of its willingness to challenge existing working practices and attitudes in society. Working for the company is incredibly rewarding because it does encourage you to look for, find and implement solutions to your own problems.David SopherINEOS Nitriles, Seal Sands, UK INEOS’ management is very courageous and successful. My job is so enjoyable that it doesn’t feel like work. To me entrepreneurship is taking personal responsibility for the business, and over the years I have seen it hard at work within the company especially during the 2008/2009 crisis and more recently during the dispute at Grangemouth.Manfred HartungAsset manager energy departmentINEOS Olefins & Polymers Europe North As a recent graduate, INEOS makes me a ‘go-get-it’ type of engineer. I am being trained to get out there and figure things out for myself while having the backing and support of well-trained and highly experienced individuals to help me out when needed. At INEOS you are given real responsibility, real accountability, and real exposure to the business world. If you have the right attitude and mindset, you can go far because the opportunity is there. Every day we deal with real issues, real problems and we work together so that by the end of the day most problems are solved.Amadou TounkaraI&E reliability engineerINEOS O&P USA  At INEOS we are given the freedom to use our knowledge and resources to develop innovative and high-value ideas in a proactive and non-fearful manner. That approach means we are not left ‘fighting fires’ or getting by on traditional, prescribed or “status quo” ways of doing business.Mark GessnerEngineering advisorINEOS O&P USA It is Interesting and exciting to work for an organisation that challenges you to seek solutions to your own problems. At INEOS you are encouraged to be resourceful, find new ways of working, and develop your own role.Annika PetrussonAssistant to Managing DirectorINEOS ChlorVinyls, Stenungsund, Sweden Nothing is spoon-fed at INEOS which means you develop and learn so much faster than you would otherwise. The lack of an enforced hierarchy really allows people to flourish and it is a real credit to the company that every member of the organisation takes a personal investment in its success. I see evidence of entrepreneurship at work on a daily basis because I am surrounded by people who are not limited to their job description and constantly seeking opportunities for business development, improvement and efficiency. This is of their own accord with no pushing needed from anyone else. There is a real degree of self-discipline at work coupled with sheer drive and determination which permeates throughout the organisation.Gabriella IsidroPolymer Product OfficerINEOS Olefins & Polymers Europe North

    8 minutes read Issue 6
  • A spirited workforce

    Novel approach: A novel approach by INEOS Oxide enabled the business to not only make money from waste, but also helped to create a successful business for two other companies, and remove the equivalent of 60,000 cars from the road. The ball started rolling when INEOS initiated a search for companies with a possible interest in CO2 being created by its ethylene oxide plant in Belgium. “We make quite a lot of CO2, we knew that there must be good use that this could be put to but it was not our market,” said Hans Casier, CEO of INEOS Oxide, which already operated the most energy-efficient ethylene oxide unit in Europe. Rather than release this CO2 directly into the atmosphere, INEOS Oxide set out to find two companies which, together, could run a successful business, using the CO2 to make such things as soft, fizzy drinks and dry ice, which keeps food and drink fresh when it is transported from warehouses to shops. INEOS introduced Messer to Strombeek IJsfabriek, who went on to form a joint venture, running their new business, BECO2, from INEOS’ Zwijndrecht site in Antwerp. “We convinced them to build their own company instead of buying their CO2 from someone else,” said Hans. “They now take about 150,000 tons of CO2 and we share our costs and infrastructure.” At the press launch of the CO2 liquefaction unit, CO2 was taken straight from the ethylene oxide unit and made into sparkling water. “Everybody from the plant, who was there, stepped forward and grabbed a glass,” said Hans. “We offered it to the press and they all took a step backwards. It was a typical example of the wider community not knowing what chemicals are all about.” Pinpointing niche markets: You would not necessarily think that the Turkish construction industry would be the most obvious market to look to when developing a new, high performance insulation material, but it was for INEOS Styrenics. “The Turkish economy has been growing strongly in recent years and government building regulations have tightened following disastrous earthquakes in 1999 and 2011 in which many buildings collapsed,” said Rob Ingram, Chief Operating Officer at INEOS Styrenics. “There was a lot of building work going on and insulation became increasingly important as standards increased.” Expandable Polystyrene (EPS) in the form of white foam blocks is a leading material used for building insulation in Europe and was already widely used in Turkey. What was new for the Turkish market was a grey version of this material in which the thermal insulation properties are improved by 20%. INEOS had three options: battle for a bigger share of the developing grey EPS market in Germany, where people already recognised the benefits and where there is a strong local producer; wait for the rest of Europe to catch-on and follow the German lead; or look for alternative markets and try to capture a first mover advantage. INEOS Styrenics chose the third option. It worked with one of its key customers in Turkey and sold the benefits of its EPS Silver product to them. Together they saw an opportunity to be the first to introduce Turkey to this new material. They launched a joint promotion at a major national construction exhibition, spoke to architects and construction companies about the product’s benefits, hosted industry seminars, and wrote a series of articles for the national trade press. “It was not an overnight success but in five years we have grown sales from nothing to become the market leader,” said Rob. “And that is all because we saw the opportunity and got into the market early to establish our product as the standard for high quality.” Living what you believe. Having faith in a plan is as critical as the plan itself. At INEOS Europe AG that belief saved its Sarralbe PP, a small polypropylene production site in France which had been losing about four million Euros every year. In 2012, Xavier Cros, Polymers Business Manager at INEOS O&P South, took over the site and implemented a detailed plan that, in the past, had failed miserably. “None of the actions were really new or breakthrough,” he said. “The difference was that this time the people on site believed the changes would work.” He addressed the entire workforce and each was given a target. “Every person at the site became part of the plan, so it was down to everyone whether it succeeded or failed,” said Xavier. The plan worked. Within a year, the site was back in profit. “That success has breathed new life into the site,” he said. “Everyone now believes we can do even better this year.” Product information: Methoxypolyethyleenglycol (MPEG) had been used for almost half a century when INEOS was founded in 1998. It was a tried and tested molecule, but it had very few uses. Shortly after INEOS bought the former BP petrochemical site in Antwerp, it began looking at changing the make-up of many chemicals to make them work harder for the company, add value and give customers better products. MPEG was one of them. But before INEOS changed it, a team went into the market place to find out what construction companies wanted and needed. “By changing the specification and working with the core companies, we introduced a whole new technology in that sector,” said Hans Casier, CEO of INEOS Oxide. “A good example is for fast-setting concrete. We provided the solution by changing the way we produced the molecule to meet the needs of this application and we saw a huge increase in sales and contribution.” Bold decisions: Leadership demands courage. Two years ago INEOS was buying catalysts and selling them on to their customers. Today they make their own and sell about 500 tons a year thanks to a bold decision to build a catalyst manufacturing plant in India. “If we had built this plant in Europe or America, it would have cost us four times as much,” said Peter Williams, CEO at INEOS Technologies. Working in partnership with a local company, INEOS now makes catalysts at its own plant and then ships them to customers around the world. “We did take a calculated risk, but it’s a very competitive business, it’s important to us and we could not have afforded to build a plant at one of INEOS’ existing sites,” he said. The catalyst manufacturing plant has been so successful that a second one is currently being built. A willingness to take risks: A willingness to take calculated risks also shows true entrepreneurship at work. CEO Peter Williams said his team at INEOS Technologies showed that in trying to win over a customer in Mexico. INEOS was on the verge of licensing its technology for a polymer plant to a company in Mexico but the customer was concerned that this was the first time INEOS had made one of the products it had planned to manufacture on a commercial scale. “We knew it was possible from the work we had done in our laboratory, and we were confident in our capabilities,” said Peter. To convince the customer, INEOS used a pilot plant to manufacture the product and then shipped it to Japan where it was converted into what the customer wanted – packaging. INEOS then sent a team to Mexico to test the packaging on the market. “We made only two batches of the product and it hit the spot,” said Peter. “We won the business and the relationship with the customer goes from strength to strength.” Thinking outside the box: Thinking outside the box can save millions, as INEOS Phenol discovered when it planned to make available land it was not using and offer use of its jetty to a neighbouring company in Antwerp, Belgium. The deal is a great example of a win-win situation with both parties gaining from the overall project. ADPO will be able to use the INEOS jetty, (a critical facility for a logistics and chemical storage company based in a major port), and INEOS will now benefit from the use of new railway sidings, pipelines and loading facilities which ADPO plan to build right next door to INEOS’ site. “The main line railway runs right past our site and they are going to be building sidings off that, which will mean our phenol and acetone can be loaded on to trains instead of going by road,” said Nick Williamson, business development manager for INEOS Phenol. “Just putting in a kilometre or so of sidings is costing millions of Euros. We would never have been able to justify the investment on our own but in approaching this issue with ADPO we have both gained from the project. By looking at what we have differently, we have been able to deliver value for our business.” In addition ADPO also plans to extend the jetty substantially which will mean INEOS can bring in larger shipments of raw materials and export more. “This is an important development for the business which will open up further opportunities in the future,” said Nick.

    12 minutes read Issue 6
  • Europe’s chemical industry faces extinction in 10 years

    Last year INEOS began warning that Europe’s petrochemical industry was facing huge challenges from outside and within. Since then, little has changed to help Europe compete with America, the Middle East and China. As it stands Europe is now one of the most expensive places in the world to make petrochemicals. That has to change, Europe’s politicians must wake up to this competitive onslaught before it’s too late, says INEOS chairman Jim Ratcliffe. Europe is dithering. But it cannot afford to, not if it wants to retain a competitive chemical industry, says INEOS chairman Jim Ratcliffe. “It’s not looking good for Europe but Europe seems agnostic about the fate of European chemicals,” he says. “I can see green taxes, I can see no shale gas, I can see closure of nuclear, I can see manufacturing being driven away. I can see the competition authorities in Brussels blissfully unaware of the tsunami of imported product heading this way and standing blindly in the way of sensible restructuring.” In an open letter to EU Commission President José Manual Barroso, Jim calls on him to take urgent steps to protect Europe’s chemical industry. “Strategically, and economically, no large economy should abandon its chemical industry,” he says. INEOS’ profits in Europe have halved in the past three years while its profits in the USA have tripled. And BASF, the world’s largest chemical company, has announced – for the first time ever – a strategic cutback in European investment, citing stagnant markets, expensive energy and expensive labour. “Energy, in the form of gas, in Europe is three times higher than the USA today, whilst electricity is 50% higher,” says Jim. “There are no cheap feedstocks in Europe. USA and Middle East feedstocks costs are in another league.” He said shale gas in America had transformed its competitiveness and its confidence. “There are $71 billion worth of announced petrochemical expansions on the back of shale gas flowing into chemicals,” he said. “And that is predicted to grow to over $100 billion. In contrast Europe announces closure after closure.” In the UK alone, 22 chemical plants have closed since 2009. Chemicals depend upon competitive energy and feedstock costs. Whilst intensely technical as an industry, and one of the reasons historically that Europe has been so successful, Jim says technology alone will not save it, and warns that the industry could be wiped out within a decade. “The European textile industry was wiped out because it could not compete with Asian labour rates,” he said. “Chemicals could go the same way. It could well be another European dinosaur.” The chemical industry in Europe currently employs one million people directly and five million others indirectly. “In Europe, chemicals and automotives share top billing with $1 trillion revenues each,” he said. “Economically speaking, the chemical industry is one of Europe’s jewels in the crown.” In his letter, Jim also highlighted the very real threat from China, which is set to become the world’s largest economy by 2020. “The Chinese are building relentlessly,” he said. “Whilst in recent history, they have soaked up all the world’s surplus chemicals, they will soon be self sufficient. And beyond that they will start to reverse the flow.”

    8 minutes read Issue 6
  • Little feet make big strides

    The bold, new initiative launched by INEOS last year to get Britain’s children off the sofa has become a runaway success. So many children – far from running away – have been queuing up to take part in INEOS’ Go Run For Fun events throughout the UK. The calendar is full for 2014/2015 with more than 30,000 children due to take part this year. “These events have been extremely successful in the UK,” said Leen Heemskerk, who is leading the Go Run For Fun campaign. “We have been approached by councils, athletics clubs and schools, all wanting us to stage events. It’s wonderful but if we are to extend the programme we need more resources. We have taken it as far as we can and we want to take it further, to even more kids but we can only do that with third party support from commercial organisations and Government.” Video Since August last year, more than 15,000 children have already taken part in the INEOS-inspired mile-long runs for fun. Melton Primary School in Suffolk hosted one of the events. “Not only was it well organised, well run and very inclusive, but it has had such a positive impact on our pupils and has shown them that running, and being active, can be both fun and exciting,” said school sports coach Andrew Northcote. Jim Ratcliffe, is passionate about running and this campaign. “The idea for Go Run For Fun was born from a passion to get as many children running as possible, as early as possible,” he said. “But the campaign is a real team effort and we couldn’t have done it without the team’s hard work and dedication. To reach the 15,000th runner milestone so soon is a sterling effort from all.” By the end of this year, INEOS hopes to have staged 100 events in the UK. Some will be linked to major sporting events such as the Sheffield Half Marathon and the Bristol 10k, others to schools and athletic clubs. Colin Jackson, an Olympic silver medallist, is an ambassador for Go Run For Fun. “This has been a magical opportunity for children to try a little bit of running,” he said. “These kids may never have tried running in their life but it may be the beginning of a sporting career because running is the basis of all sports.” To ensure Go Run For Fun’s long-term future, INEOS is working with Nova International, which hosts the iconic Great Runs across the UK. The ultimate aim for Go Run For Fun is for it to become the biggest kids’ running initiative in the world. “The aim is to attract 100,000 children by 2016 and we are well on target. If we can get additional support for what is already a successful campaign then there is no reason why we cannot increase this many times over,” said Leen. Brendan Foster, a former British Olympic long-distance runner who founded the BUPA Great North Run, said he had no doubt INEOS would reach its goal. In June, the first Go Run For Fun events will be held across the Channel near INEOS’ sites in Belgium, Germany and Switzerland. “The circus is coming to town,” said Leen, the Chief Financial officer at Olefins & Polymers Europe (North). INEOS is also extending an open invitation to its other sites around the world, including Norway, France, Italy and America, to get in touch with Go Run For Fun Project Manager Ursula Heath at ursula.heath@ineos.com For the latest information on Go Run For Fun, visit the website at: www.gorunforfun.com

    10 minutes read Issue 6
  • Debate: Is entrepreneurship contagious?

    It’s an age-old question. Are entrepreneurs wired in a different way to the rest of us? Or can we all be taught to think differently? In other words, is entrepreneurship contagious? The debate about whether entrepreneurs are born or made is a hot one. Entrepreneurship is most definitely in vogue – with swathes of people wanting to be an entrepreneur, to be involved in entrepreneurial initiatives or to partner with an entrepreneur. Never before has the word had such kudos. Whether it’s nature or nurture – and a lot of entrepreneurship comes from a natural innate drive that can’t easily be taught – once you’ve had a taste of it, and even small success, there’s no looking back. I’ve definitely caught the entrepreneurial ‘bug’, and undoubtedly those creative start-ups, which are trying to change the world and solve issues, are great for communities and the economy.Michelle Wright, Chief Executive for Cause 4 This human propensity for imitative behaviour has been seen and studied repeatedly, from childhood development, to learning languages, to product and service purchases, to the decision in a crowd to check e-mail on one’s phone. In all of these cases, humans are heavily influenced by what they observe (literally or virtually) others doing. We recently carried out a survey to establish whether entrepreneurship was contagious and discovered that an individual who had been exposed to entrepreneurs — and to growth entrepreneurs in particular — was more likely to become one. The implication? Entrepreneurship can be viral, but must be introduced early and often in environments where it is least often seen. In particular, growth entrepreneurship is a narrow phenomenon, one that requires much more effort to introduce it to susceptive populations and drive overall economic growth.Paul Kedrosky, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a non-profit foundation based in Kansas City, Missouri Entrepreneurship is absolutely contagious. Once you are surrounded by motivating and innovative entrepreneurs, and get the taste for life outside of big corporate America jobs, where your efforts can have a direct impact on the company’s success and see the real-time fruits of your labour, there is no turning back. That is why many universities are scrambling to launch Masters of Entrepreneurship programmes, as the appeal of MBAs are starting to lose their luster for the next generation of workers. George Deeb, managing partner of Chicago-based Red Rocket Ventures Is entrepreneurship contagious? Think about it, and consider this: Obesity is contagious, so is quitting smoking, and so is divorce. So why not entrepreneurship? Think of how people infect (or so it seems) each other with ideas, fashion, eating habits, and customs. Doing something, even something hard, is easier to do when it feels like a lot of other people are doing it. And isn’t entrepreneurship a combination of ideas, fashion, customs, and like that? So if I start a business and make it, aren’t my friends more likely to do the same? They have a changed risk perception.Tim Berry, American founder and chairman of Palo Alto Software, Eugene, Oregon Entrepreneurship has nothing to do with genes. It has everything to do with the political, economic, educational and social environment people find themselves in. And that’s why it’s contagious. All the economic evidence today points to one simple truth: the entrepreneurial spirit is the best tool ever invented for creating growth and prosperity for individuals, companies and entire countries. Companies that gave us the pin-striped ‘organisation man’ are today promoting a culture of ‘corporate entrepreneurship’ as the best way to compete and survive in the global economy. And government leaders of all political stripes have also discovered that developing a more entrepreneurial economy is the best way to create jobs and achieve sustainable economic development. Entrepreneurship has become a global phenomenon because it works better for more people, for more companies and for more countries than any other business or economic model around. Of course, none of this could be happening if the age-old myth ‘entrepreneurs are born not made’, were true. In fact it’s never been true. The reality today is that millions of new businesses are being started each year by all kinds of people from all walks of life. Entrepreneurship happens because of circumstances – a circumstance of opportunity like coming up with a great product/ service idea – or a circumstance of necessity like being poor, or full of frustration, or getting fired. Ninety-nine per cent of the 3,000 entrepreneurs I’ve met and researched are indeed, ordinary people who simply found themselves in extraordinary situations. Larry C. Farrell, founder and chairman of The Farrell Company, a worldwide organisation that researches and teaches entrepreneurship to university students, corporations and governments. www.TheSpiritOfEnterprise.com When an entrepreneurial spirit permeates every corner of an organisation, the entrepreneur lurking in each of us awakens. Think about what characterizes successful entrepreneurs. They have tremendous belief in their abilities and in their vision for their business. Now, imagine that every person in that organisation shares that same belief. How powerful would that be? Anyone who has worked in a business that embraces the entrepreneurial spirit knows how exhilarating it is. You can feel a buzz in the air. The action on the shop floor and in the hallways is so intense that coming out of your office is like merging into rush¬-hour traffic. Decisions are made on the fly without the need for formal meetings or approvals. The esprit de corps is palpable. The whole team pitches in to do what it takes to succeed. Martin O’Neill, author of The Power of an Internal Franchise: How Your Business Will Prosper When Your Employees Act Like Owners

    7 minutes read Issue 6
  • Colder and bolder

    It’s not everybody’s idea of heaven but some, like doug Stoup, will always be drawn to places where no man has ever dared to set foot. No man has ever set foot on the highest section of the East Antarctic Plateau. Scientists say this 620-mile, frozen mountain ridge, where temperatures can plummet below - 92°C (- 133.6 °F), is an inhospitable place where nothing really thrives or survives. It’s so cold that a human’s eyes, nose and lungs could freeze within minutes. “It is sort of otherworldly up there and it is what, I imagine, being on another planet is like,” says Ted Scambos, lead scientist from the US National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado. “It is extremely difficult to breathe. In fact, breathing can be painful. Nasal passages can feel a burning sensation and inhaling too quickly can nip parts of the throat and lungs.” Polar explorer Doug Stoup knows more than most about hostile places, having explored the Antarctic more times than any other man alive. “The Antarctic is my office,” he said as he spoke to INCH magazine while skiing in the backcountry of Lake Tahoe, California. “It is an inhospitable place but I don’t have a death wish. I want to come back safe.” At 49, he’s considered something of a veteran, having travelled, climbed, skied and snowboarded in some of the remotest places on the planet. So would he be tempted to climb this remote ice plateau which, in December, scientists revealed was home to the coldest place on Earth? “Absolutely,” he said. “I have already been to so many places where no other human being has been, so the answer is ‘Yes. For sure. I love pushing myself to the limit and I have so many goals and dreams.” At a mind-numbing - 93.2 °C (- 136 °F), it is almost twice as cold as the coldest place Doug has ever been. And he knows what that is like. “You cannot stop,” he said. “It’s bitterly cold. You have to keep moving. When you are standing still, you burn calories just generating heat to stay alive. If you leave any skin exposed, frostbite sets in instantly.” Scientists discovered the coldest spot on Earth as they analysed data from satellites that have been orbiting the planet for 32 years. The latest satellite, Landsat 8, was launched in February last year and has been taking about 550 pictures of the Earth from 438 miles (705km) every day. “What we’ve got orbiting Earth right now is a very accurate and consistent sensor that can tell us all kinds of things about how the land surface of Earth is changing, how climate change is impacting on the surface of Earth, the Earth’s oceans and the icy areas, ” said Ted. “Finding the coldest place on Earth is just the beginning.” Doug would agree with that. “If you are mentally and physically prepared and have the right equipment, I believe anything is possible,” he said. Doug has been guiding teams across the frozen Arctic Ocean to the North Pole and to the South Pole in Antarctica for more than 10 years. “The journey to the North Pole is the hardest journey in the world,” he said. “As the ice moves, it opens up, and when you are sleeping in your tent, you can feel and hear the ice creaking, breaking up and moving beneath you. Sometimes it sounds like a whistle. Other times like a train. And, then of course, there’s always the danger of encountering polar bears.” Being mentally and physically prepared for what lies ahead is critical but, that alone, is not enough. Without the right clothing, many expeditions would fail. “The chemical industry has played a huge part in helping to create the stuff that keeps people, like me, alive,” he said. “It makes performance fabrics and clothing possible, to help me to stay warm and dry in some pretty inhospitable places, when I’m not active, whilst at the same time helping control perspiration when I’m on the move.” Doug, who has helped to design some of the high performance clothing for polar explorers, will soon be drawing on his experiences to help NASA in their quest to put a man on Mars. He is due to travel to Devon Island in Canada, which is home to the largest uninhabited, desert island on Earth. It is cold, dry, desolate and home to a 15-mile wide impact crater that is 23 million years old. All of that means it is a very good environment for scientists studying what it would take to conduct a manned mission on Mars. Experts are predicting that NASA could put a team of astronauts on Mars by the 2030s. Like Earth, Mars has polar ice caps, seasons, volcanoes, canyons and deserts. But with temperatures falling to - 128 °C (- 198 °F ) at night, it a good degree colder. “Mars is no place for the faint-hearted,” said a spokesman for the space agency. That’s a word no one would ever use to describe Doug, who, in 2008, almost lost his life trying to cross a crevasse field during a 47-day, 738-mile trek to the South Pole via a route first attempted by polar explorer Ernest Shackleton. Was he worried? ‘No,’ he says. Has he ever been scared? “Yes,” he says. “I caught a cab once from Heathrow into the city of London. That was crazy.”

    8 minutes read Issue 6
  • Changing the face of society

    If you had to name the greatest entrepreneur in the history of mankind, who would you chose? the man who created the iPhone, the ‘difficult’ pupil who went on to invent the electric light bulb or the woman who believed every woman could be beautiful. It’s an easy question but it’s not an easy one to answer, as INCH discovered.   APPLE Steve Jobs (1955 – 2011) was the co-founder of Apple. He and school friend Steve Wozniak sold their first Apple computer in 1976. He later left Apple amid disputes in 1985 but returned in 1996 and became its CEO in 1997. He went on to tackle Apple’s poor profitability and oversaw the development of the iPod, the iPhone and iPad. His greatest gift, said many, was his ability to second guess the market and design an innovative product that everyone wanted. AMAZON Jeff Bezos (1964 -) left a well-paid job with a New York City hedge fund to set up e-commerce site Amazon in his garage in 1994. Initially the site sold only books but he wasn’t content with being a bookseller. He wanted more for Amazon. He went on to make online shopping so easy that today customers can find and buy almost everything they want at the touch of a button. It is now the largest retailer on the Internet. FACEBOOK Mark Zuckerberg (1984 –) started writing computer programmes at school. Several companies – including AOL and Microsoft – expressed an interest in hiring him before he graduated from Harvard University. He turned them down and went on to create Facebook. Today his social networking site has more than one billion users and market capitalisation of more than $150 billion. STEEL INDUSTRY Andrew Carnegie (1835 – 1919) is best known for his gifts of free public library buildings but he was also an industrialist who led the enormous expansion of the American steel industry in the late 19th century. When he sold his company to JP Morgan in 1901, it was valued at more than $400 million. He was driven by a desire to help others. When he died in 1919, he had given away about $350 million of his fortune. He once wrote: ‘The who dies thus rich, dies disgraced.’ AIRCRAFT The first airplane was invented by Wilbur Wright (1867 – 1912) and his brother Orville (1871 – 1948). After spending a great deal of time watching birds in flight, they finally showed the world that man could fly when they flew their plane for 12 seconds for a distance of 120 feet on December 17, 1903, astounding everyone.  IKEA Swedish-born Ingvar Kamprad (1926 -) started selling matches, which he bought in bulk from Stockholm, to his neighbours when he was 14. Amazed that he could buy a product and resell it for a profit fuelled his ambitions. He went on to sell fish, Christmas decorations, pens, pencils and seeds. At 17 he named his new venture IKEA and added further goods. By 21 he was also selling furniture and by 27 – in 1953 – he opened his first IKEA showroom. Today IKEA has stores in 25 countries with annual sales of more than 21 billion Euros. THE CAR Henry Ford (1863-1947) brought the car to the masses. His Model T was everything he thought a car should be – reasonably priced and reliable – but only a few could be made in a day which wasn’t enough to satisfy demand. In the end he opened a large factory with an assembly line and went on to become the biggest car manufacturer in the world with a car that was simple to drive and cheap to repair.  COSMETICS Estée Lauder (1906 – 2004) was the daughter of a Hungarian immigrant. She founded her cosmetics company in 1946 armed with just four products and an unshakeable belief: that every woman can be beautiful. She began by selling skin care products to beauty salons and hotels, and believed that to make a sale, you needed to touch the customer. ‘I didn’t get there by wishing for it or hoping for it, but by working for it,’ she often reminded her sales team. Today her cosmetics are one of the leading brands in the world.  JEANS Levi Strauss (1829–1902) was born in Germany, but moved America in 1847 to work for his brothers. Six years later he started his own company, importing clothing, underwear, umbrellas and fabric which he sold to small stores all over the west coast of America. But it was customer, a tailor, who gave Levi the idea of making heavy-duty ‘waist overalls’, which we now know as jeans. Initially it is believed the jeans were made by individual seamstresses but by the 1880s, as jeans grew in popularity, he opened his own factory. The rest is history. THE PRINTING PRESS Johannes Gutenberg (1395 – 1468), a German goldsmith and businessman, invented a printing press with replaceable/ moveable wooden or metal letters in 1436. His invention, for which he needed to borrow money, is credited for revolutionising the production of books. THE COMPASS The Chinese invented the first compass during the Han Dynasty. It was made of lodestone, a naturally magnetized iron ore. The compass enabled mariners to navigate safely far from land, increasing sea trade and contributing to the Age of Discovery.  EXPLORER Portuguese Ferdinand Magellan (1480 – 1521) organised the expedition that resulted in the first circumnavigation of the Earth. He assembled a fleet of five ships and despite huge setbacks, including the master of one of the ships sailing back home and Magellan’s own death (he was killed during the Battle of Mactan), he proved the world was round. THE LIGHT BULB Thomas Edison (1847 – 1931) was the youngest of seven children. His mother decided to teach him at home after his teacher described him as difficult. He didn’t learn to talk until he was four after which he never stopped asking ‘why?’ At 12 he started selling newspapers and later published his own small newspaper. During his lifetime he filed more than 1,000 patents, including the electric light bulb, the first practical dictaphone, the phonograph and the storage battery. He obtained his last patent at 83. To many he will always be the greatest inventor who ever lived.  GOOGLE Larry Page (1973 -) and Sergey Brin (1973 -) met at Stanford University in 1995. Larry was considering the school; Sergey was assigned to show him around. Two years later the two students co-founded Google, which went on to become one of the fastest growing businesses of all time. Today Google is the most popular search engine. Their philosophy is simple: Great just isn’t good enough. ANIMATED FILMS Walt Disney, creator of such magical figures as Mickey Mouse and Snow White, pioneered the fields of animation. During his 43-year career in Hollywood, he became known for taking the dreams of America and making them come true. His drive to perfect the art of animation was endless. When Technicolor was introduced to animation, he held the patent for two years, which meant he was the only person to make colour cartoons. THE INTERNET Computer scientist Sir Timothy Berners-Lee (1955 -) invented the World Wide Web, an internet-based hypermedia initiative for global information sharing while at CERN, the European Particle Physics Laboratory, in 1989. The proposal was meant for a more effective CERN communication system but he realised the concept could be implemented throughout the world. The first website was built at CERN and finally went online on August 6, 1991. TATA GROUP J R D Tata (1904 – 1993) became India’s first licensed pilot in 1929 and went on to found India’s first commercial airline, Tata Airlines, in 1932, which later became Air India. He joined his uncle’s company, Tata & Sons, as an unpaid apprentice in 1925. In 1938 – at the age of 34 – he was elected chairman. Under his chairmanship the group’s assets grew from $100 million US dollars to $5 billion US dollars. He started with 14 enterprises and, when he retired, there were 95 enterprises in the Tata Group. CHINA YOUTHOLOGY Zafka Zhang co-founded market research company China Youthology in 2008. He believes today’s generation in China has the power to change society. Companies such as Audi, Nokia, L’Oreal, and Daimler have all used his online business to tap into China’s youth culture and understand how to market their own brands better. MICROSOFT Bill Gates (1955 -) began programming computers at 13. He dropped out of Harvard to devote his energy to Microsoft, driven by the belief that the computer would be a valuable tool on every office desktop and in every home. He began developing software for personal computers and led the personal computer revolution. Having already given away $28bn to his Foundation, Bill Gates now intends to eradicate polio, with the same drive he brought to Microsoft.  MOBILE PHONE Martin Cooper (1928 -) came up with the concept of the hand-held mobile phone while working at Motorola in 1973. The prototype, which weighed two kilos, is believed to have cost Motorola about $1 million in today’s money. The battery last 20 minutes but it didn’t matter because you couldn’t hold the phone for that long.  THE TELEPHONE Alexander Graham Bell (1847 – 1922) was the first to be awarded a patent for the electric telephone in 1876. He improved on the design and by 1886 more than 150,000 people owned telephones in the United States. He later said: ‘The day will come when the man at the telephone will be able to see the distant person to whom he is speaking.’  FEDEX Fred Smith (1944 -) took money left to him by his late father and founded Federal Express, a global overnight delivery service that a professor had warned him was unworkable. His company, now known as FedEx, is now believed to be the largest transportation business in the world, processing more than eight billion pieces of freight every day, and operating in at least 220 countries. PAPAYAMOBILE Si Shen was inspired after reading The Road Ahead by Microsoft founder Bill Gates. He wanted to change the world; so did she. After working for Google for several years, she left and returned to Beijing where she and a friend launched Papaya in 2008. Today she turns mobile phones into social networks. The software lets people share pictures, send messages and play games with others and it is believed to have more than 35 million users.  VIRGIN GROUP Sir Richard Branson (1950 -) dropped out of school at 16 and started out by selling records to his friends at the lowest price possible in 1970. He later opened a record shop in Oxford Street, London, and built a recording studio, signing artists such as The Rolling Stones. Today Virgin Group, which he founded, comprises of more than 400 companies. STARBUCKS It all started with a cup of coffee. Howard Schultz (1953 -) was so inspired after speaking to the staff at Starbucks in Seattle in 1981 that he joined the company as director of marketing the following year. At the time Starbucks had only four stores. In 1983, during a trip to Italy, he had a vision to bring the Italian coffeehouse tradition to America. He left Starbucks for a while, hoping to strike out on his own, but returned in 1987 and bought the company. Today Starbucks has more than 17,000 stores in 60 countries.

    12 minutes read Issue 6
  • How journalists helped to put INEOS on the map

    In 2011, when the first edition of INCH was published, research had shown that the INEOS brand was not as strong as it ought to be, given the sheer scale of the company, but that it clearly needed to be if it were to attract the very best students and potential investors and influence politicians and the media. The magazine has – hopefully – helped to address these issues, but recently INEOS’ profile has been raised in a way not even chairman Jim Ratcliffe could have predicted. INEOS can no longer describe itself as the biggest company that you have never heard of. Ever since the events at Grangemouth in Scotland, at the end of last year, views of the company along with those of its founder and chairman Jim Ratcliffe have been in demand. Newspapers from around the world have been keen to include articles on the company and its Executives. Sylvia Pfeifer, a journalist on the Financial Times, said until a few months ago, INEOS had been little known outside industry circles. “If the Grangemouth issue generated unwanted headlines, it has also lured INEOS out of the shadows,” she said. But Journalists have not only been interested in INEOS’ success story. It has also been asked to comment on such things as the state of manufacturing in Britain, the impact of the shale gas boom in the US, the crippling cost of energy in Europe and the huge opportunities for growth in China. Business editor Alistair Osborne wrote in The Daily Telegraph: “Jim Ratcliffe may not be a household name but it’s hard to find another British industrialist who, in 15 whirlwind years, has built a business from scratch into a global $43bn (£27.5bn) sales machine.  Ratcliffe is hardly a man short of experience. So when he says that Britain ‘frankly has not been a very attractive place to manufacture’, or that the UK should stop ‘faffing about’ with shale gas and nuclear power, then his views command respect.” During an interview with Brian Carney, one of the editors on The Wall Street Journal, Jim was asked what the US could do to make life even better for industry in America. “Cut corporation tax,” he said. “It’s my only gripe. If you brought it down to about 30%, the US would be unbeatable.” During an interview with Stanley Reed from the New York Times, Jim talked about why he was not prepared to see profitable sites in the US subsidising those losing money in Europe. Bernd Freytag spoke to INEOS for an article he was writing for Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. In it, he described the company as a pioneer for its decision to import low-cost shale-derived ethane gas to bring down the operating costs of INEOS’ European crackers. Referring to Jim, Bernd said: “His picture of Europe for the petrochemical industry is rather grim, and he forecasts hard times. He doesn’t share the view of some experts that the US shale gas boom will soon be over. He’s alone in thinking that but he thinks that is nonsense.” A similar story appeared in Le Monde. “Europe is not a good place for business right now and it’s getting worse,” Le Monde’s London correspondent Eric Albert wrote in his first-ever interview with the company. “I do not think people understand the challenges facing them.” Interviews also appeared in newspapers in Norway and China, written by Cecily Liu, a reporter on The China Daily, reporting on the huge petrochemicals market and steady demand that are propelling China’s growth. “I only knew about INEOS because of its joint venture with PetroChina but I knew very little about Jim,” she told INCH. “After Grangemouth he became more outspoken in the media. He clearly knows how to make the most of his talents and is more willing than most people to take risks.” But one of the challenges that INEOS once faced, now no longer exists. “INEOS had grown so rapidly that the perception people had of us hadn’t kept pace,” said Tom Crotty, Group Director for Corporate Affairs. “Even some customers were saying they thought we were a bit reticent, considering our size, in putting forward our views on the market. We also had some feedback from investors and the media that we needed to open up a bit.” Today no one can level that criticism at INEOS anymore.

    3 minutes read Issue 6
  • INEOS sues over alleged misuse of patents

    INEOS is suing state-owned Chinese oil and petrochemical company Sinopec and some of its associated businesses for allegedly violating patents. INEOS said Sinopec Ningbo Engineering Company had broken a long established technology agreement which, together with alleged misuse of trade secrets by other Sinopec companies, had enabled it to build a series of acrylonitrile plants in China without INEOS’ consent. “We want to take our best technology to China but we need to know that it will be protected,” said INEOS chairman Jim Ratcliffe. “The prolific building of acrylonitrile plants in China will destroy our business.” INEOS, which has otherwise excellent relationships with Sinopec and with China, said in a statement on March 21 that it had no choice other than to protect its intellectual property. “Unless we protect our hard-won intellectual property, which includes trade secrets and patents, covering technology, design and operations, ultimately we will see the demise of INEOS,” said Jim. INEOS fears China’s actions will cause major harm to its acrylonitrile business which generates up to $500million in profit every year and supports about 5,000 jobs in America, the UK and Germany. INEOS currently leads the global market for the production of acrylonitrile, the key building block for carbon fibre. The important molecule is also the key ingredient in ABS polymer, which is used in many everyday applications from children’s toys and computer monitors to white goods. INEOS’ acrylonitrile technology provides the basis for over 90% of the world’s production. SNEC, a Sinopec company, has had a licence to use that technology since 1984. INEOS, which is pursuing parallel actions in the Beijing High Court and through arbitration in Sweden, said it had ‘every confidence’ in China’s intellectual property system because it now files more patents than any other country. Sinopec denies INEOS’ claims.

    2 minutes read Issue 6
  • INEOS responds to customer demand

    INEOS Oxide has expanded its ethylidene norbornene (ENB) plant in Antwerp, Belgium, to satisfy demand from customers. The plant will now be capable of producing 28,000 tons a year – 20% more than before – and, as such, becomes the largest, single ENB plant in the world. ENB is mostly used to make ethylene-propylene-diene rubber (EPDM), an extremely weather-proof, durable, synthetic rubber that is increasingly favoured by car manufacturers and the construction industry. “Debottlenecking the Antwerp plant is a unique step by INEOS that will provide sufficient ENB for the next two to three years,” said CEO Hans Casier. ENB is also used by the perfume industry as a scent carrier

    1 minute read Issue 6
  • INEOS slices further €30 million off its interest bill

    Entrepreneurial thinking has saved INEOS a further €30 million a year in interest payments, when the company refinanced some of its borrowing in February. Video The latest decision to take advantage of favourable financial markets followed last year’s refinancing when INEOS secured a significant interest rate reduction, which cut payments by $140 million a year. “If we combine the latest improvement with those of the last 18 months we have reduced the overall interest charge from €550 million to €385 million,” said Graeme Leask, CFO of INEOS Group Holdings. INEOS was able to drive down the interest rate on its borrowing because of strong demand from investors seeking to participate in INEOS’ success. “The reaction from the investors in February was extremely positive,” said Graeme. “Demand for the new bond was seven times oversubscribed.” INEOS had been paying just under 8% on its bonds. It had hoped to pay just over 6% on the new bond. What it achieved was just under 6%. It also managed to secure a further interest rate reduction on its bank loan. “We could choose to use these savings to repay debt but our investors know that we have many good opportunities across our businesses to earn money with this investment. So it is better for INEOS and its investors to put this money to work in our businesses than pay down the borrowing,” said Peter Clarkson, head of investor relations at INEOS. Financial advisors described the latest deal, as a ‘blowout’, said Graeme. INEOS attributed its success to the communications it has with its investors to highlight the ongoing performance of the company. “We are very open with our investors and they value that transparency,” said Peter. “Every week, which is unusual in the world they invest in, we write a market update for all investors and analysts with a summary of what has been happening in all our major markets.” That culture of openness and honesty has also allowed INEOS to reduce the amount of time needed to renegotiate and secure better interest rates. A bond refinancing deal used to take up to three weeks. Now, because investors know us well, it can be done in a few days. INEOS did not need to refinance these high yield bonds until 2016 but saw an opportunity to take advantage of the good financial markets and moved quickly. “We don’t normally wait until we have reached the wire on these things because we want to give ourselves plenty of leeway,” said Peter. The latest deal also led to an improved credit rating from Moody’s which now matches Standard & Poor’s at B1/B+ “Credit rating agencies are inherently conservative and their default scenario is ‘the world’s going to end tomorrow; explain otherwise’, so to get an upgrade at this point in time is good news,” said Peter. There are also other added benefits, including the ability to negotiate more credit with suppliers which improves cash flow. Moody’s analyst Douglas Crawford said the upgrade partly reflected INEOS’ ‘resilient’ performance in 2013 and how well it expected the company to perform this year. INEOS AG Finance Director John Reece said overall the group had performed well in 2013 and that 2014 had got off to a good start. Most of INEOS’ profits, though, are coming from America, rising from about 60% in 2012 to almost 70% last year. “Shale is not the only reason we are doing well in the US but it has been transformational,” he said. INEOS is planning to invest heavily in the US over the coming year. “That investment is very much our number one priority,” said John. Plans in the pipeline include a polyethylene plant, an oligomers plant and possibly a new ethylene oxide plant. John said, “Europe, particularly southern Europe and the UK, are still challenging but our decision to import low-cost shale-derived ethane gas from America to Europe will help to reduce operating costs at our European gas crackers which will help us to remain competitive.” Looking ahead, the journey, which began in April 2012 when INEOS secured the largest-ever covenant-lite loan for a European company and the largest globally since the credit crunch, will continue. “It is part of our strategy,” said Graeme. “We are opportunistic so if there is an opportunity in the market to reduce our interest rates or extend our fi nancing, then we are always ready to do that.”

    11 minutes read Issue 6
  • INEOS signs second deal to ship more ethane to Europe – and orders more ships

    INEOS has signed another deal to import more competitively-priced shale-derived ethane from the US to help reduce the operating costs of its European gas crackers. INEOS Europe AG will begin accepting shipments from CONSOL Energy in Pittsburgh from next year. “This will allow us to continue to consolidate the competitiveness of INEOS’ ethylene production in Europe,” said David Thompson, Procurement and Supply Chain Director. Two years ago INEOS became the first petrochemical company in Europe to seize the opportunity to import cheaper energy and feedstocks from Range Resources in the US. In December 2012 it finalised 15-year contracts with three US companies which would be responsible for the drilling, distributing, liquefying and shipping of ethane from America to INEOS’ Rafnes plant in Norway. On May 7 this year INEOS announced that it had reached an agreement with Evergas to increase the number of shipping vessels to six. Those ships are currently being built in China and will transport the ethane to both the Rafnes site and INEOS’ Grangemouth plant in Scotland. The ships are the largest, most flexible and advanced multi-gas carriers yet to be built. They will provide INEOS with a flexible solution for their ethane supplies with the option of transporting LNG, LPG as well as petrochemical gases including ethylene. “The advanced design of these vessels offers very high efficiency and unparalleled flexibility to INEOS securing the longevity and strong position of their business” said Martin Ackermann, CEO of EVERGAS. The dual-fuelled vessels will use clean LNG in state-of-the-art engines securing high efficiency, low emissions and reduced fuel cost.

    2 minutes read Issue 6
  • INEOS Technologies moves fast to win business in Vietnam

    A company in Vietnam has licensed INEOS Technology to manufacture polypropylene, a plastic polymer that is used in everything from fridges to carpets to car parts. Vung Ro Petroleum Limited said INEOS’ Innovene PP process would give it the edge over its competitors and help it to satisfy the growing demand in the Asian market. “The economies of Asia are growing and with that growth is a need for plastic products for infrastructure, packaging, household goods, appliances and consumer products,” said Randy Wu, Vice-President, PE/ PP Marketing and Sales at INEOS Technologies. “In the past most of those products were destined for the export market.” Vung Ro Petroleum Limited first approached INEOS Technologies in mid-2012. Within a year, the company had signed a deal with INEOS. “That’s relatively fast for a polyolefins licensing project, many of which take years to consummate,” said Randy. “But it shows that we have done such a good job developing our relationships with clients, consultants and contractors that our reputation as a leading provider of technology is widely known in the industry.” The refinery will be based in the Dong Hoa District of Phu Yen Province. “INEOS’ Innovene PP process will be an integral part of our refinery project and provide us with an advanced polypropylene process with advantaged economics and broad product reach,” said Kirill Korolev, CEO of Vung Ro Petroleum Limited.

    2 minutes read Issue 6
  • Business gets taste for new adventure

    Baleycourt is one of the 12 businesses that come under INEOS Enterprises’ umbrella. It is a small site, about the size of 20 football pitches, but its contribution to INEOS’ success should not be underestimated. video INEOS Enterprises will be fielding another new product this year – food grade rapeseed oil. It will be the first time that INEOS has ever ventured into the food ingredients market, but by the end of 2014 it will be producing 15,000 tons of rapeseed oil at its site at Baleycourt, France. Only time will tell whether it will be a wise investment but Ashley Reed, Chief Executive Officer of INEOS Enterprises, and Chief Operating Officer Steve Dossett, who manages the business, are confident. “It is a new departure for us but rapeseed oil is becoming increasingly popular, mainly for its healthy properties and price advantage versus olive oil,” said Ashley. Production of rapeseed oil, which is a rich source of vitamin E and contains half the saturated fat of olive oil, will also help to ensure that the site – in the heart of France’s second largest vegetable oil producing region – remains competitive. For years Baleycourt had been producing tons of biodiesel for French supermarkets and oil companies like Total. In 2008 INEOS Enterprises further strengthened Baleycourt’s position when it set up an €80 million joint venture – known as INEOS Champlor – with French farming co-operative SICLAE and oil seed crushing group C.Thywissen, which led to the opening of a second biodiesel unit and rapeseed crusher and oil refining plant. “The investment was principally driven by the French government which was promoting significant levels of biofuel blending ahead of EU legislation,” said Ashley. “Each of the fuel markets (diesel and gasoline) had individual incorporation targets with severe financial penalties for the blender if they failed meet the obligation. That meant we should have had a guaranteed market.” It also meant INEOS could crush locally-grown rapeseed itself instead of buying it as rape oil from Germany, where previously it had been transported for crushing. The investment made financial sense and the partnership worked beautifully. INEOS bought in the rapeseed at a competitive price and crushed it, making thousands of tons of renewable fuel for a market that wanted it. As a bonus, the by-product was rapeseed meal, which was used as a GM-free protein animal feed for pigs. At its peak Baleycourt was producing 140,000 tons of biofuel and 180,000 tons of rapemeal every year. But then the wind started to change. In 2010 the EU introduced ‘double count’ legislation which encouraged fuel producers to blend waste feedstocks such as used cooking oil and tallow. By 2011 – with no cap on the product – the international oil trading hub, ARA, began saturating the French market with this form of fuel, materially impacting on demand for ‘single count’ rape oil derived product. Baleycourt production volumes slumped. Eventually imports into France were limited. The domestic producers did regain market share but it had altered the market dynamics significantly and French government incentives were also about to dwindle. The following year the EU Commission made a significant about turn on biofuels with a proposal to limit the quantity of biofuels made from crops to 5%. Then last year further EU legislation was imposed. In short, the EU had lost its appetite for crop-based biofuels. “There is still much debate within the EU institutions, including what is a crop, so it is not clear exactly how this will play out over the next few years,” said Ashley. “But it is highly unlikely there will be much, if any, growth in the current EU average blending levels of biodiesel made from crops.” INEOS decided it was time to take back control. To become the master of its own destiny. At the end of last year it negotiated down the JV’s uneconomic debt with the banks, bought out its JV partners, agreed a five-year, improved deal with farmers for their rapeseed and restructured the Baleycourt business. “We had been thinking about using the extra capacity to produce rapeseed oil instead of biofuels for a while but we needed the agreement of all parties,” said Steve. “The JV could not service its debts to its lenders and had been heading towards bankruptcy since the end of 2010. Failing was an option but now INEOS has a future in the oilseeds and biodiesel world, whilst still retaining the strategic supply for local seed from the French co-operatives. This new project is a toe in the water. We know there is already a very large oil market but we are confident.” The seeds of that new venture are now being sewn in the fields that surround the 25-hectare site near Verdun. But Baleycourt, which employs 150 people and turns over 250 million Euros every year, is not just about biofuels. This small French site has also been producing high quality plasticisers from alcohols and acids for more than 40 years. And business is booming thanks to the development of INEOS’ phthalates-free CEREPLAS™ Esters which are now used to make PVC cling film and food bags, car dashboards, vinyl flooring, and tubes and bags for the medical industry. Over the past five years three new grades – terephthalates, trimellitates and sebacates – have been launched on the market leading to more than 20% increase in sales volume. “This growth has been driven by matching market demand and being proactive on customers’ trends,” said Steve. Phthalates help to soften and make plastic more flexible and harder to break, but their use come under increasing scrutiny due to concerns about potential health risks. “What INEOS did – in the face of those concerns – was develop an alternative, phthalate-free ester which does the same thing,” said Steve. “Some of our competitors do still make phthalates as well as non phthalate products but we made the decision – and it was important to us – to make the site 100% phthalate free. Even though that limited our sales opportunities, it meant we could promise our customers that we would not, even by accident, supply them products containing phthalates.” Baleycourt, which sees more than 700 000 tons of various products transported in and out of the site each year, also produces esters for the lubricants market. “The future of the esters business will be to continue to grow significantly by providing tailor-made, smart solutions,” said Ashley. That will be done by keeping a close, watchful eye on the ever-changing market and coming up with innovative products to meet INEOS’ customers’ needs. “INEOS Enterprises is now recognised as a key supplier of esters in Europe which is a significant achievement, when you consider that esters’ customers are historically reluctant to change because of the lengthy approval processes imposed on them by their downstream customers,” said Ashley.

    20 minutes read Issue 6
  • Safely on track

    Safety is paramount at INEOS. But it has to be, because it operates in a hazardous environment. The year may have changed, but INEOS’ approach to personal and process safety won’t. If anything, it will become even more important and robust, as Stephen Yee explains. Safety doesn’t just happen by accident. It takes a lot of hard work, and needs everyone – employees, employers and contractors – to understand what’s at stake when a company like INEOS gets it wrong. “Our commitment to safety starts at the top as a core value of our company,” said Stephen Yee, Business Safety Health and Environment Manager based at INEOS ChlorVinyls in Runcorn, UK. “We all know that the sustainable long-term future of our businesses rests on our track record on safety, health and the environment.” Last year was a good year for INEOS despite its decision to switch to OSHA, (Occupational Health and Safety Administration) a stricter, US-based system of recording workplace accidents, injuries and illnesses so that others could judge its performance against the very best. “We can now see that INEOS compares well against the likes of Shell and Dow Chemical,” said Stephen, who collates the Group’s safety reports. “But the data also shows that lower injury rates are achievable. Based on our own analysis, if we look back five years, we are approximately 50% better than we were in 2008. And in 2013 there were 70 fewer injuries reported.” Last year was a particularly good year for INEOS O&P Europe North, which won the INEOS SHE award for the second time for its safety performance and for setting a good standard in process safety management. Hans Niederberger, chief operations officer, said clear communication was one of the reasons for the business’ success last year, with SHE line managers tasked with the vital job of keeping everyone informed of what was expected. “In addition every single site has its own score card regarding SHE improvements during the year and those cards are reviewed every month,” he said. INEOS O&P Europe North reported four injuries during 2013. “That led to a frequency of 0.12 injuries per every 200,000 hours worked,” he said. “A world-class frequency is deemed to be 0.20 to 0.25.” Stephen said INEOS would be looking to the best sites to help the worst-performing sites in terms of safety. “We can – and will – learn from how the best sites approach safety to improve the performance of all businesses,” he said. At INEOS in Köln, a hard-hitting poster campaign, ‘Accidents cast long shadows’, was launched to encourage all staff to think of the potential consequences of their actions at work. Juergen Schmitz, head of the occupational safety and health department whose job is also to deliver key messages about safety to almost 2,000 employees and 1,000 contractors on site, said the campaign had been well received but it was difficult to establish a link between that and the fact that the site’s safety record had improved. “Many occupational safety-related components will have contributed to that improvement,” he said. In addition to the campaign, he said, all trainees and managerial staff – from the shift managers to the Managing Director – had attended a mandatory training safety programme in 2013. Looking back over a successful year, Stephen said there were some ‘outstanding milestones’. No one, he said, had been injured at the INEOS ChlorVinyls plant in Sweden since December 30, 2010. “To go 1,000 days without a recordable injury is something of which the plant should be very proud,” he said. Helen Axelsson, who is in charge of safety, health, environment and quality assurance, attributed the plant’s impressive safety record to 10 years of focusing on employees’ behaviour. “We have an open safety climate, where everyone could tell anyone if they think someone is working in an unsafe manner,” she said. “The last three to four years we have used the expression: ‘We always have time to work in a safe manner’ and I really think that everyone, both employees and contractors, feel that it is true.” Last year each INEOS business also implemented – despite a challenging timescale set by themselves – the 20 key safety principles devised by INEOS’ process safety management team and based on actual incidents or ‘near misses’. “We not only implemented them but each business has been independently audited,” said Stephen. “The lead auditors were site and production management from other sites which encourages sites to share best practice.” He said, though, that people should not worry unduly about statistics. “Our focus is simple,” he said. “It’s one step at a time and to focus on what we can all do to prevent injuries to those who work on our sites. The good results will follow.” But, as with most things, there is always room for improvement. “I do find it frustrating that there are still injuries which happen that can be prevented if people stop and think before they act,” he said. As a group, INEOS also wants each business to further improve its safety record by 10%. “They are challenging SHE controls,” said Stephen. “But they are achievable.”

    10 minutes read Issue 6
  • INEOS refines its goals

    With Europe now one of the most expensive places in the world to make chemicals, energy-intensive companies like INEOS need to think creatively if they are to stay in business. At the French site in Lavéra, changes are afoot.  Marseille is the oldest – and second largest – city in France. It enjoys miles of sandy beaches and is peppered with picturesque buildings. As such, you wouldn’t expect it to have anything in common with a neighbouring crude oil refinery, which produces thousands of tons of gasoline, jet fuel, diesel, and heating oil every day. But it does. For INEOS’ Lavéra petrochemicals site and Petroineos’ crude oil refinery – just 30 miles west of Marseille – use as much energy as the city itself. And therein lies the problem. “We have got to continually maximise our energy efficiency,” said Jean-Noël Large, who now has the job of improving the energy efficiency of the 81-year-old refinery. “It is one of INEOS’ top priorities, and not just in France. The high cost of energy is a problem for the whole of Europe. Our energy costs are now incredibly high compared to America and Asia. Compared to other similar-sized petrochemical companies and refineries on other continents, we are currently in a difficult position, and people on site generally understand the situation well.” In his role, Jean-Noël works closely with on-site technicians, manufacturing, process and maintenance engineers across the site, experts from INEOS Technologies and also external partners. “The INEOS Technologies modelling team has the ability to carry out simulations to explore ways to improve the efficiency of the site,” he said. The 650-hectare Lavéra site as a whole is one of the biggest petrochemical sites in Europe. It was owned by BP when Jean-Noël joined the company in 1989. INEOS acquired it when it bought BP’s Innovene business for $9 billion nine years ago, in December 2005. “When BP owned the site, the cost of energy in Europe was competitive,” he said. “But the price of energy in Europe has continued to rise whilst the shale gas boom has dramatically reduced the price of energy for our competitors in the US, creating a huge difference between these markets. Energy is now a top priority for us and it is up there with the reliability of the site.” Tom Crotty, INEOS Group Director, said spiralling energy costs in Europe meant it now cost INEOS’ Olefins & Polymers business in France twice as much as it did in America to produce a ton of ethylene. “If we want to be around in years to come to compete then it is incredibly important to cut our energy bills,” said Jean-Noël. He is currently working on many projects. Smaller ones, including a steam balance tool to analyse steam consumption across the refinery, have already been implemented, others are ongoing – and so far investments and careful monitoring have led to a 20% reduction in the number of steam leaks – and more are in the pipeline. This year he will also oversee a major change to one of the furnaces in the refinery. The crude oil distillation unit currently runs on a mixture of liquid and gas but, from May, it will run on gas only. “At the moment the combustion of liquid fuel generates deposits in the furnace that limit its global efficiency,” said Jean-Noël. By improving the efficiency of the unit, less fuel will be burned, money will be saved and air emissions will be reduced. Petroineos Manufacturing France is also investing in a €70 million project to two install new state-of-the-art steam boilers by mid-2015. Once in place, they too will improve the efficiency of the refinery, and lead to a further reduction in emissions. In 2002, 13,000 tons a year of sulphur dioxide were being emitted into the atmosphere from the site. By 2013 INEOS had cut that figure by 70% a year thanks to a series of improvements and investment. “With the changes we are going to make, we will be able to cut further these emissions by more than 90% by 2016,” said Jean-Noël. He said all the projects would have a huge impact on the efficiency of the refinery and help the site to regain its competitiveness. “We are looking at saving up to €25 million a year,” he said. Jean-Noël is excited by what lies ahead for Lavéra, and also the difference he can make. “I have been given the freedom to explore any path judged as potentially interesting, that helps our performance and reduces cost to the business,” he said. “My field of investigation covers any unit of the refinery and any source of energy improvement. And hopefully my experience and my knowledge of the site and of the people will help me to implement this action plan.”

    8 minutes read Issue 6
  • Experts explore options

    Radical thinking on INEOS’ part in 2009 will start to pay dividends next year when the first shipments of low-cost ethane from the US begin arriving at Rafnes in Norway to help reduce operating costs at INEOS’ gas crackers in Europe. But why stop there? That’s the question INEOS is now asking itself. INEOS hates waste. And that includes squandering opportunities to run its businesses more efficiently. Having already clinched game-changing, 15-year deals with two American companies to import low-cost, shale-derived ethane gas from the US to Europe to help reduce the operating costs at its European plants, INEOS is now looking to the UK. A new team, led by Gary Haywood, is now weighing up the pros and cons of pursuing shale gas exploration and production starting in the UK, currently one of the few countries in the EU to accept the importance of hydraulic fracturing, or ‘fracking’ – the process by which gas and liquids can be extracted from shale formations. Gary said the British Government’s support for shale gas exploration had been an important factor in INEOS’ decision to invest in its own project team, which was set up in February. “Without Government support, the development of shale gas production would be virtually impossible,” he said. The British Government has now created an Office of Unconventional Gas and Oil to promote the safe, responsible and environmentally-sound recovery of the UK’s shale gas and oil resources, and has promised tax incentives to encourage investment. “The Government has recognised that shale gas has the potential to provide the UK with greater energy security, growth and jobs, and help the UK’s chemical and energy-intensive UK manufacturing industry to succeed,” said Gary. There are currently 176 Petroleum Exploration and Development Licences (PEDLs) for onshore oil and gas in the UK. More licences are due to be awarded this year. The US shale gas revolution has transformed America’s petrochemical industry. Gas prices in the US are now about a third to a half of those in Europe (and a quarter of Asian prices), and cracker feedstocks have also benefitted. Dennis Seith, CEO of Olefins & Polymers (USA), said the effect of reduced energy costs for American industry had been nothing short of phenomenal. US chemical companies are set to spend more than $70 billion before 2020 on new manufacturing facilities – fuelled by these cost advantages. The factors impacting gas prices in the UK are complex, and in some ways different to the US. It is unlikely that the impact of significant shale gas production on gas pricing will directly mirror the US situation, but there is no doubt that the development of this national resource will only improve the competitiveness of the UK gas market, as well as boost energy security, the balance of payments – and jobs. In January UK Prime Minister David Cameron, buoyed by what has happened in America, urged the European Union not to impose premature regulatory burdens on shale exploration because investors would look elsewhere. “Oil and gas will still be plentifully produced but Europe will be dry,” he told the World Economic Forum. Instead he urged the EU to embrace the opportunity. “I understand the concerns some people have,” he said. “We need the right regulations and governments need to reassure people that nothing would go ahead if environmental dangers were present. But if this is done properly, shale gas can actually have lower emissions than imported gas.” Gary’s team have already started work. The UK is estimated to contain vast and untapped reserves of shale gas. The question is whether the gas can be extracted economically. Part of the INEOS team brief is to study UK geology to identify the most prospective areas for economic production. Of course, economic production of shale gas will also require the right surface conditions, including available land, and the required infrastructure. The team has also been working with other chemical companies, energy-intensive users, and shale gas production companies to decide how best to communicate to a now sceptical public that shale gas can be extracted in a safe and environmentally-sound way. “The environment at the moment is difficult,” said Gary. “People are concerned but what we need to do is to get our message out to people, to balance those messages of concern, which can sometimes be emotional and not necessarily based on sound science or indeed knowledge of the facts.” INEOS has already adopted a strategy to help persuade the public about the very real need for shale gas exploration – by its involvement in discussions in Parliament, in the media and through INCH, and highlighting the benefits to its own employees in the hope they too will share the facts. “We need to keep driving home the message that the chemical and energy intensive industries in the UK need to be competitive, or they face a very bleak future,” said Gary. “At the moment Europe is seeing increasing competition from America and the Middle East where energy and feedstocks are very low cost. We need to explain that the development of our shale gas resource is one way that we can help here.” INEOS can use shale gas as a feedstock or energy source for its ethylene crackers but it also owns land, pipelines and storage in some of the key areas being explored in the UK. “All that, coupled with INEOS’ clear manufacturing excellence, strong safety focus and good relationships with the communities in which it operates, means that INEOS may bring something unique to this emerging industry,” said Gary. “So INEOS may ultimately opt to drill for shale gas itself.” INEOS has brought substantial external experience into the team to help with the evaluation of this exciting opportunity. Tom Pickering has 10 years’ experience in on-shore gas exploration and production in Europe, and has also applied for – and successfully obtained – the largest number of UK onshore licences of any applicant. Gareth Beamish has 30 years’ experience as a geoscientist with major companies such as ExxonMobil and BG Group, including five years’ experience in shale gas exploration globally. “We are looking at what makes sense for us,” said Gary. “We are certainly big supporters of shale gas production. Whether we are merely cheerleaders, or directly involved in exploration and production, or something in between, will depend on our assessment of the benefits and risks across our options, and then ultimately on how INEOS Capital assess those benefits and risks, and how they want to deploy the resources of the company.” If the UK does manage to tap into its vast reserves of shale gas, Gary believes it could have a knock on effect across Europe. “We can’t be sure, but we do believe that positive progress in any European country will set the tone for the rest of Europe,” he said. “People want secure, competitive and environmentally-friendly energy options, and we believe that if they had all the facts around shale gas production, then they would be supportive.”

    10 minutes read Issue 6
  • The Grangemouth dispute

    The Grangemouth complex, including the refining joint venture Petroineos, is one of the three largest sites in INEOS. It was built over 50 years ago to process oil and gas from the North Sea. video The site has not performed well since the 2008 crisis and has relied on funding from other businesses in INEOS Group, each year since, to survive. A total of £600m (€715 m) has been funded by Group in this period. There are two businesses on this complex and each one has its issues. Refining has suffered from a poor business environment in Europe since the crisis and low margins. It also has had poor reliability and high costs. At the heart of the second business on the site, Chemicals, lies the KG cracker which converts North Sea gases into olefins. These gases have declined rapidly in recent years such that now we can only operate at 50% rates. In addition, the cost base is much too high. Grangemouth (Chemicals and Refining) has been unable to address its high fixed cost base which has been crippling the business, because the resident union on site, Unite, would not sit down to discuss the seriousness of the situation. Pensions are a prime example of the uncompetitive position. A typical pension on our Grangemouth site costs 65% of salary. This is simply unaffordable. Salaries are double the national average in the UK. Any attempt to discuss this unsustainable position by the union was simply met with a ‘no’ and a threat of strike action. Unite threatened to strike 3 times in 2013, in February, in July and in September. The 2008 strike cost the business £120m and deprived Grangemouth of much needed investment in infrastructure. Following a ‘summer of discontent’ over the union convenor, Stevie Deans, who sadly had misused INEOS facilities and information together with mounting losses, we decided that either Grangemouth must accept change or closure. The only scenario for Chemicals that offered a bright future was to supplement the declining North Sea gases with US shale gas, which is both abundant and cheap. Transporting large quantities of gas however requires investment and infrastructure. It requires special ships and large import and export terminals that can handle liquefied gases at minus 100ºC. The total investment necessary to enable Grangemouth to bring in, and process, US shale gas, is in the order of £300m, of which £150m is required to build the import facility at Grangemouth itself. INEOS Capital agreed with management before the summer, that it was prepared to fund this ‘transformational’ project for Grangemouth, but only on condition that the business addressed its cost base including the unaffordable pensions and an overall wage package for operators of £100,000 per year (€120,000 or $160,000). Management constructed a ‘Survival Plan’ for Grangemouth that involved closure of the current pension scheme but replacement with a ‘best in class’ pension scheme, a pay freeze for 3 years and changes in redundancy terms and work flexibility. In return, INEOS agreed to invest £300m to import US gas. Unite continued to refuse to engage in any discussion on the ‘Survival Plan’ meaning that further losses were inevitable, and further more, that businesses elsewhere in the INEOS Group would have to continue to prop up Grangemouth. We asked employees to vote on the Survival plan but sadly the result was a split vote. After much internal discussion following this disappointing outcome, we had little option but to announce closure of the Chemical assets rather than sustain further losses. At the eleventh hour the union announced a reversal of its position and accepted the requirement for the changes needed to secure the funding of £300m. Looking back now the outcome was clearly a very positive one for the site. It means that Grangemouth has a future, and potentially a very good and long lived one at that. It is very regrettable however that the process took the path that it did. It caused distress to employees and families, and it wasted an immense amount of money, over €40,000,000. It was unnecessary and wasteful. Grangemouth needs to find a constructive way to have a dialogue between employees and management as we do in virtually all of our other sites, whether they are unionised or not. We have had two strikes in recent years at a cost of €200 million, years of aggressive confrontational dialogue with unions, multiple strike threats and heavy losses. The world is a changing place, business fortunes rise and fall. At times there will be need for change and there needs to be an effective forum to discuss this. I would ask employees at Grangemouth to consider how in the future they would like to be represented in an effective and constructive way, bearing in mind that both employee and employer benefit from a successful future for Grangemouth. JIM RATCLIFFE

    7 minutes read Issue 5
  • Grangemouth

    The Grangemouth oil refinery dispute took on a new turn in the autumn. After learning that the petrochemical plant in Falkirk, Scotland, will stay open following a deal struck with Unite, allegations emerged of a campaign of bullying and intimidation echoing the union militancy of the Seventies and Eighties. A senior manager at INEOS, the company that operates Grangemouth, claimed that the Unite union sent a mob of protesters to his home, leading him to fear for the safety of his wife and two young children. Meanwhile, the daughter of another director said that she had received a “wanted” poster criticising her father, at her home in Hampshire, hundreds of miles from the Grangemouth plant. David Cameron described the allegations as  “quite shocking” and called on the Labour Party to investigate the claims about the union, which is its largest donor. Len McCluskey, Unite’s general secretary, defended the tactic as “legal and legitimate”, adding:  “If a company director is engaged in what we believe is an unfair attack on workers and their families and their communities, then the idea that faceless directors can disappear to their leafy suburbs and get away with that type of action is something we think is wrong.” Here, Jim Ratcliffe, the chairman of INEOS, talks about how he took on the union, and what British industry can learn from a thriving Germany. INEOS chairman Jim Ratcliffe reflects on the Grangemouth dispute and union militancy Towards the end of 2005, INEOS acquired Innovene, the petrochemicals arm of BP, for $9 billion. It quadrupled the size of INEOS overnight and brought with it some of the world’s largest industrial sites.  One of those was in Cologne, Germany. Three months later I visited the Cologne site, similar in size to Grangemouth but far more profitable, where I met the union convenor. His name was Siggi, he stood 6ft 4in tall and was known to represent employees robustly, but fairly. After 15 minutes of ‘get to know you’ chat, he said: “Jim, I don’t like your bonus scheme.” Taken aback, I replied: “But why, Siggi? It’s a very generous bonus scheme.” He responded: “I would rather you spend the money on the plant, on capital expenditure, maintenance and painting so we can be sure there will be jobs for the employees’ children and their children.” There has never been a strike on that site, or a hint of one. The union, on behalf of employees and INEOS, share a common goal: a long-term, successful future. Employees retain good-quality jobs, and INEOS makes profitable returns and reinvests on the site. Sad to say, but invariably a chemical complex in Germany is in better condition and is more efficient than an equivalent one in the UK. And, equally regrettably, the German chemical industry has fared better than its British counterpart, which has experienced a number of closures in the North East and North West. The constructive dialogue that we encounter in Cologne has been lacking at the Grangemouth petrochemicals plant in Falkirk.    Unions can play a valuable role in large organisations where it is difficult to talk to a thousand people. They can negotiate annual pay awards with management, represent grievance cases, and explain and advise   on complicated changes in employment or pension law. However, in my view, they must understand that a business has to be profitable to survive, that the world is always changing, so firms have to adapt to remain competitive, and finally that their role is to safeguard the long-term employment of their members. On the Grangemouth site this year, Unite threatened a strike three times – in February, July and October. In February, the union demanded a pay rise of 3.9 per cent, a level that the business simply could not afford. We had no option but to accede, as the site was not prepared for a strike and it simply would have been too damaging. In late July, Len McCluskey, general secretary of Unite, telephoned the site personally and demanded the reinstatement of Stevie Deans – who had just been suspended following a discovery of thousands of Labour Party emails on our system – or he would “bring Grangemouth to a standstill”. Again, a strike would have been too damaging at that time. And then, in October, came the straw that broke the camel’s back. Unite declared a strike over the investigation of Stevie Deans but, critically and far more damaging, they refused to engage in discussions about the future of the site. Without change, Grangemouth would certainly fail. The business had been unable to adapt to a world that had moved on and become more efficient and competitive, because the union had kept a stranglehold on the plant. Each operator on the Falkirk site now costs close to £100,000 per annum, if one takes salary of £55,000 plus a pension contribution of £35,000, plus bonuses and National Insurance. This level of expense is simply unsustainable in our industry. It is misplaced for unions in Britain to think that we are the enemy. We are not. It is not necessary, nor appropriate, to sow dissent and misrepresent employees or constantly to threaten industrial action. It is wrong for “brothers and sisters” letters (this is how missives from the union to members on site are addressed) to describe doubters or anyone who deigns to cross the union as scabs. It also has the hallmarks of bullying. Not only is it wrong but it is also intimidating, and designed to suppress alternative views – an attitude that runs absolutely counter to the values of society today, in which freedom of speech is cherished. During the dispute, a female employee in accounting, who was worried by the union drumbeat, expressed concern about her job and confirmed that the business was in financial difficulty (she prepared the figures each month) in an email that she put out across the site. She received rude anonymous phone calls, with the phone being slammed down. This small incident was much discussed in INEOS. It upset many of us that a lady in our company, a mother of three, was unable to express her views and concerns freely. It played a part, ultimately, in our resolve not to accept a solution for the site that did not bring with it changes on many fronts, but most importantly, in attitude and working practices. The union issues on the Grangemouth site date back to the Seventies. Only three weeks ago, half a dozen friends and I were guided on rocky trails through the high Alps in Italy on mountain bikes. One participant, Tony Loftus, who had been the operations director for INEOS’s predecessor, Inspec, revealed in a discussion about the troubles at Grangemouth that his first job after a chemistry degree at Manchester University had been as a graduate trainee on the Grangemouth site in the early Seventies. He said, quite spontaneously: “When I was in Grangemouth, there were no problems, we didn’t have any strikes, and management did as they were told.” Little has changed since, and today the site struggles compared with its German counterparts. While unions did not play a part in my family life when I was being brought up, my early years were most certainly spent in a working-class community. My first 10 years were in Failsworth, a northern suburb of Manchester, close to Oldham. I recall being able to count more than 100 mill chimneys from my bedroom window – this is probably how I learnt to count. We lived in a small cul-de-sac called Boston Close, in what I remember as a very pleasant council house. It still exists today. I do recall my father telling me that when he was younger he had climbed every tree in Miles Platting, a neighbouring suburb where he was brought up. It was only many years later as a teenager that it dawned on me that there were no trees in Miles Platting. It is a far cry from the leafy suburbs of the Home Counties. These communities in Lancashire developed in the late 1700s. Workers migrated from the fields and sought new employment and opportunity in the Industrial Revolution that began in the heart of Lancashire. Britain invented the concept of manufacturing. I can clearly see in my family tree many of my ancestors moving from the fields of Derbyshire to Manchester. All signed their name with a cross. I undoubtedly have an affinity to manufacturing, as do many from this part of the country. I am a strong advocate for actually making things in a major economy like Britain. That is not to say I have anything against services. I do not. But I believe that a robust, balanced economy requires a healthy manufacturing sector. We spend a good portion of our income on goods of one sort or another, from washing machines to handbags (heaven knows why so many are required), and it is common sense that we are better off making some of these goods than importing them. Britain has suffered a collapse in its manufacturing base in the past 20 years. A typical economy splits three ways: agriculture, manufacturing and services. Agriculture is normally quite small, at less than 10 per cent; services is generally the largest sector;  and manufacturing might be in the 20 per cent range, as is the case in Germany. Twenty years ago, Britain lagged behind Germany by a small margin, maybe 2 or 3 per cent. Today, Britain’s manufacturing sector is only half of Germany’s. The obvious questions are, why this collapse, and is it important? For me, it certainly is important. An over-dependence on services leads to a fragile economy. Germany emerged from the 2008/9 recession much more quickly and vigorously than Britain. Equally important is the geographic divide here. The Midlands and the North are much more heavily biased to manufacturing, and communities have suffered from high unemployment. London is clearly services-based, and very successful for it. But they are not the only game in town. I see some tendency in government, which sits in a ‘services environment’, that is to say in London, to believe that the future is all about the City and its love affair with financial services. We should take some lessons from Germany, where they have a strong attachment to their thriving manufacturing base and recognise its key role in a balanced economy. I see the rapid decline in manufacturing in Britain stemming from previous governments’ lack of recognition of its importance. Britain doesn’t have a knock-out sales pitch to attract manufacturers. INEOS has several sites in Britain, but they are not as profitable as our plants in Germany, Belgium and, particularly, the US. Britain has expensive energy, skills are not at the levels of other countries, pensions are expensive, and unions can be difficult. Historically, government was not switched on to manufacturing in Britain. In contrast, the USA has excellent skills, most of our sites there are non-unionised, energy is a fraction of the cost in Britain, and they have an enormous market. Germany is simply good at manufacturing – as we used to be. There is no reason that manufacturing should not revive in Britain. The present Government is becoming more attuned to its importance in maintaining a healthy economy. We should never forget that the Brits invented manufacturing. To return to my main theme – the unions and the headlines asking “Unions, good or bad?” – I maintain that Seventies-style union behaviour leads to ruin. By contrast, Siggi, the convenor in Germany I mentioned, is in the 21st century. He challenges, he tests, he shakes the tree and negotiates, but he always persuades INEOS to invest. A good union is good for employers – and for employees.

    14 minutes read Issue 5
  • Challenging times

    Chemistry makes a world of difference to the world we live in. But can the European chemical industry, which directly contributes about €500 billion to the EU economy, convince its masters to listen to its concerns so that it can compete on the global stage? Only time will tell. But time is running out, as INEOS’ Tom Crotty explains. video Europe’s status in the world is under threat. Its petrochemical industry, which directly contributes €500 billion to the EU economy, today faces great challenges from outside and within. But neither should be life-threatening if the European Union sees sense in time, says Tom Crotty, INEOS Group Director. “Europe has a very clear choice,” he said. “Between a vicious circle of decline or a virtuous circle of improvement.” Whichever choice it makes will be determined by two things: the EU’s environmental policies to decarbonize the planet and whether it exploits its own resources to bring down the spiraling cost of energy. “Those are the two biggest issues facing the European Union,” said Tom. Europe is now one of the most expensive places in the world to make petrochemicals. The Middle East is marginally still the cheapest place – but, thanks to its exploitation of shale gas, America is catching up. “The EU has got a problem in that two of the major trading blocks that surround it are accessing much cheaper energy,” said Tom. And it shows. In France, INEOS’ Olefins & Polymers business spends twice as much as America to produce a ton of ethylene. “The US business is our most profitable one and the European business scale-for-scale is probably our least profitable,” he said. Cefic, the Brussels-based Trade Association which is the voice of the chemical industry in Europe as a whole, believes the situation will get worse this year before it gets slightly better next year. “Cefic is forecasting modest growth of 1.5% next year,” said Tom, a Cefic board member. “It is modest growth, but it is real growth.” That growth will be driven by the production of high quality, innovative, high value, environmentally-sound products for markets that demand the best, not necessarily the cheapest. “If you are looking for a specific engineering plastic to make a key component for a brand new BMW, you are not going to go around and ask who’s cheapest, you are going to say: ‘Who’s best?’” That – so far – has safeguarded Europe’s chemical industry. “That is key to Europe’s future,” said Tom. “Without that protection Europe would be flooded by cheap chemical products. “But we must continue to make highly technical products that are difficult for competitors to copy.” One such product is made by INEOS. It specialises in making polymer that the French use for milk bottles. The plastic has to be able to stop chemicals seeping into the milk. “It is not something a big plant in the Middle East can copy or would want to copy because many of them are too big for that,” said Tom. But still, there is no margin for complacency. Cefic is currently urging the European Commission not to impose additional environmental regulations in isolation from the rest of the world. It warns if the EU pursues its 2050 environmental objectives and thereby drives up energy and carbon costs, it will undermine competitiveness and result in carbon leakage and a reduced level of investment in the European Union. “The EU needs to take stock of its environmental policy-making because increasing regulations are driving up prices and it’s having a huge impact,” said Tom. Cefic shares the European Commission’s objective to decarbonise the planet. What it does not agree on is how to achieve that. “Imposing environmental regulations, in isolation from the rest of the world, will cause European chemical production to cease because we won’t be able to afford it,” he said. “That won’t decarbonise the planet because those same products will still be used by Europe’s 350 million consumers. They will simply be imported from the likes of China where you’ll have the additional carbon from production and from transportation. “So you will have increased the amount of carbon and also lost jobs and wealth from the EU. “It makes more environmental and commercial sense to encourage European industries to do the right thing by using their technical expertise to create greener products,” he added. Tom said a ton of PVC currently made in China using energy generated from coal fired power stations, emitted seven times more CO2 than a ton of PVC made in the EU. And that was without taking into account the carbon needed to transport it. “It may be an extreme example,” he said. “But it is a real example.” So the question is: Is the EU listening? The European Commission’s Directorate-General Energy and Directorate-General Enterprise are, says Tom. But he’s not so sure about the Directorate- General Environment, which imposes the regulations. “Their message is that the EU must set an example to the world,” said Tom. “But the reality is the rest of the world is not following. Europe is running in front and the Americans are saying ‘See you later. We are not going to screw up our industry or our economy’.” Tom said carbon taxes would work only if they were imposed globally. “It’s right that the best way to encourage companies to do something different is to make what they do now too expensive, and that is what carbon tax does,” said Tom. “But everybody must do it. “If a tax on carbon is introduced in the EU alone, then nobody upon nobody will run their industrial operations in Europe. They will operate in China, the Middle East or America.” Cefic believes 9% growth is already needed just to bring European production back to where it was before the 2008-2009 downturn, which saw one of INEOS’ major competitors go bust. “We bounced back from the downturn because our reliance on the car and construction industries was much less than our competitors,” said Tom. “For us it was really painful but it wasn’t terminal.” Aside from the threat of carbon taxes, though, the chemical industry is also dismayed at the EU’s reluctance to unlock the natural gas trapped in shale rock and, in turn, help to lower production costs of energy for the industry and consumers in general. “You can keep driving down your own costs but you can only go so far and that’s when you get into the energy policy issue,” said Tom. “I know I sound like a broken record but it’s a huge issue for us.” INEOS’ ChlorVinyls plant in Runcorn in the North of England currently uses as much power as the neighbouring city of Liverpool. Cefic believes the European chemicals sector, which employs 1.2 million, will face tough competition again next year as it battles for growth from US producers who are benefiting from cheap energy and feedstock thanks to shale gas exploitation in America. So far, the UK is European Union’s best hope for cheaper energy. “There is no point in looking anywhere else in Europe at the moment because the opposition is too high,” said Tom. Despite protests in the UK – such as happened in July at Balcombe, West Sussex – the British Government does support the search for shale gas, and has promised to hand control over important, complex, technical planning issues to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Environment Agency (EA) instead of local councilors. Cuadrilla is one of a dozen UK companies, which have licenses to drill for shale gas. INEOS – with a cracker at Grangemouth in Scotland that needs to find a long-term source of ethane gas to run it – is in talks with all of them. “Clearly we would get involved because we are a customer,” said Tom. “But the question is: Do we want to get even more involved?” “What we do know is that the North Sea ethane gas is virtually gone now and unless we find another source of gas we will be struggling to run the Grangemouth cracker after 2017,” said Tom. In October INEOS announced it planned to invest £300 million in a terminal at Grangemouth so it can import cheaper liquefied gas from America, after staff agreed to support the site’s Survival Plan. The Scottish Government has also indicated that it will provide a £9 million grant to help finance the terminal and the UK Government has given its pre-qualification approval for a £125 million loan guarantee facility, even if Scotland does vote to sever its 306-year-old ties with England in next year’s independence referendum. “We need all their support,” said Tom. Cracks start to appear in Europe America’s ability to produce chemicals cheaply is already having a huge knock-on effect. Worst affected is Europe’s chemical industry that uses mostly crude oil to produce the same products. In a report published by KPMG in October 2012, Mike Shannon, global head of chemicals and performance technologies, forecast that it might cause some economic disruption. “It may cause the shutdown of less lucrative assets – and possible countries blocking the flow of US exports to protect local production.” Arguably it has already started in Europe, which is now one of the most expensive places in the world to manufacture petrochemicals. In September, Total announced it planned to shut down a loss-making steam cracker in Carling, France. The naphtha cracker, which uses crude oil to make chemicals and has been struggling for the past five years, will close in 2015. It will come as no surprise to KPMG, which, in 2009, forecast that 14 of the 43 crackers in Europe would become uneconomical by 2015 due to stiff competition from the Middle East, Asia and America. Meanwhile, in America, with low-cost and abundant ethylene coupled with a slowdown in the growth of domestic demand, US companies are looking for expansion opportunities. The US is already a net exporter of ethylene derivatives and the volume is expected to increase significantly.

    18 minutes read Issue 5
  • United Front

    With Europe facing pressure from outside and within, it has never been more important for management and unions to work together to find solutions. INCH spoke to union representatives from Norway, Italy and Germany about what they believed INEOS needed to do to remain competitive and how they could help. They say marriages are made in heaven. That may well be the case for the defence. But anyone who is married knows they can also be fraught with difficulties. The key to survival is openness, honesty and fairness. Thomas Meiers, the union representative at INEOS Köln, says openness, honesty and fairness are equally as important in business too. “We work closely with INEOS and that’s a good thing,” he said. He said discussions were often intense but that was something INEOS actively encouraged. “Sometimes the discussions between us can get heated, but because we are allowed to be open, all of us can spot any potentially dangerous situations and deal with those potential problems at a very early stage,” he said. Those frank, on-going discussions, he said, meant the union and management could thrash out the best way to approach a particular issue, and find a solution that satisfied all. “Usually the outcome ensures both further economic successes and competitiveness for the company as well as decent working conditions and welfare for the workforce,” he said. And it seems to be working. The Köln site of INEOS Olefins & Polymers is one of the most profitable in Europe. Thomas believes that INEOS’ flat management structure, the way it conducts its business and the fact that staff identify with the company and its aims, have all contributed to that. “Our approach to industrial relations at INEOS is so unique,” he said. “It’s also what makes us sustainable and successful.” Working together towards a common goal is also what motivates Wenche Jansen Tveitan, the union representative at INEOS’ Olefins & Polymers plant in Norway. “Any workplace needs to have the staff on board if it wants to remain competitive,” she said. “And an open relationship, built on trust, is built through openness.” She said regular informal contact between the union reps and management had been the key to building that trust. “Any difference of opinion is brought to the table as soon as possible and not left until the next works’ council meeting,” she said. Management, she said, also used the union as a sounding board. “When that happens, the employees can play an active part and contribute to even better solutions in the end,” she said. That kind of approach is critical, especially in today’s fast-paced, ever-changing and competitive world. Many petrochemical companies are currently investing most of their money in the US rather than Europe because of America’s access to cheap feedstock and energy. With Europe now one of the most expensive places in the world to manufacture petrochemicals, Wenche believes the union can directly – and indirectly – ensure INEOS remains competitive. She said that was especially important in Norway where the cost of living is high. “Our site depends on good performance – all the time,” she said. “We do that by showing our investing in our site yields a good profit.” Wenche said the union was equally as concerned as management about energy prices and taxes – and had often lobbied the government and organisations to try to influence policies that might affect the smooth running of INEOS’ O&P site in Rafnes. “The co-operation between management and unions is of great importance in this regard,” she said. “Together we’re stronger.” Wenche said the union had recently played an important role in setting up meetings with politicians. “We work constantly to show what challenges the land-based industry is facing and what should be done to solve these,” she said. “Together we have managed to get some tax relief and advantageous energy agreements which have improved our competitiveness.” She said the union had also played an important part when both the Prime Minister, Minister of Finance and leader of the Standing Committee on Business and Industry visited Noretyl/O&P in Norway. Tom Crotty, INEOS Group director said it was important for the unions to be working on solutions with management. “The relationship with the unions in Köln and Rafnes is fantastic,” he said. “They want to understand the business’ targets and they want to help both indirectly and directly. “They are quite prepared to talk about whether practices need to be changed but also indirectly in how they can put pressure on government and assist you.” Italy’s union representatives expressed similar views to their colleagues in Norway and Germany. “Close dialog and co-operation between the company and us is very important,” said Stefano Santini, union representative at INEOS’ O&P site in Rosignano, Italy. “Over the years we have, together, built up a mutual confidence and trust due to the various commitments taken and then honoured.” In September Total announced it was planning to shut down a loss-making steam cracker in Carling, France. Patrick Pouyanné, President Refining & Chemicals and member of the Executive Committee of Total, blamed growing international competition. “The European petrochemicals market is facing continued overcapacity,” he said. The cracker, which refines crude oil into chemical components to make plastics, is due to close in 2015. The announcement has worried INEOS staff at Rosignano. “The fear here is that this closure could potentially hit also the personnel working in the site of Saralbe,” said Stefano. He is worried – as are many – about the spiralling cost of energy and feedstock in Europe. “We need to work on the energy saving, especially reducing the energy waste by using equipment with low energy consumption,” he said. “We also need to review the energy contracts, and try to produce energy ourselves for the site, and invest in alternative energy sources like the ones coming from use of biomasses.” He said, from a union perspective, INEOS needed to invest in research to develop innovative products, which demanded technical and structural expertise. “We could also invest in finding easier ways to access raw materials,” he said Five things that will help the European chemical industry remain competitive: Cheaper energy:A policy shift towards reducing EU energy costs is seen as vital to drive innovation and investment, create jobs and growth and ultimately help to cut greenhouse gases. Better regulation:The EU’s chemical legislation, Reach, is already viewed as one of the most burdensome pieces of legislation in Europe. The chemical industry has so far complied with it and registered all chemical substances that are manufactured or imported in quantities of more than 100 tons per year. But there is more to come. Under ‘phase 3’ companies, which produce one to 100 tons per year, must register those substances. That will affect nearly every chemical company in the EU and all their customers. A Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership:The proposed TTIP would see import duties scrapped on the €48 billion worth of chemicals traded in 2012 between America and Europe. Cefic would like to see all chemical tariffs eliminated, and hopes the negotiations, which are expected to be finalised in two years, will lead to greater regulatory transparency and co-operation. Retention of Key Enabling Technologies:KETs, as they are known, are seen as critical to re-energise the EU economy. At the moment, although Europe is a global leader in KETs research and development – with a global share in patent applications of more than 30% – it is not translating that research into the production of processes and products needed to stimulate growth and jobs. Protection of its trade secrets:The European Commission is being urged to ensure adequate systems are in place to ensure European innovation know-how is protected. Moving breakthrough ideas to market are viewed as the best way for EU industry to stay ahead in an increasingly competitive global race.

    12 minutes read Issue 5
  • East looks to the west

    China is entering a new and an exciting phase. It needs to continue to provide the chemical raw materials to help deliver growth and it needs to tackle the pollution that is choking its cities, by cutting its CO2 emissions. It cannot do it alone. It needs help from innovative, energy-efficient companies that have the technical expertise together with proven safety records. Companies like INEOS. The Chinese dragon – long seen as a symbol of power, strength and good fortune – has so far served its leaders well. It has witnessed the meteoric rise of China from a small, emerging market into the second biggest economy in the world – and it is even now snapping at America’s heels. But that unprecedented, rapid growth, driven largely by exports and heavy manufacturing, has come at a huge cost to the environment, with China now emitting more CO2 gases than any other country in the world. The world’s perception is that China cares little for the environment. But China’s leaders are no longer willing to accept that. Their latest Five-Year Plan marks a dramatic turning point in their thinking. For years, China has been focused on exports. Now it is looking closer to home. Chinese Business are being actively encouraged to form partnerships with Western companies to help them improve energy efficiency and achieve growth, detailed in the plan. “The seeds were sown in that Five-Year Plan,” said Rob Nevin, CEO of INEOS Nitriles. “The door is open for business.” Earlier this year China formed joint ventures with two of INEOS’ world leading businesses. INEOS Nitriles and INEOS Phenol – to build the largest phenol facility in China and a world-scale acrylonitrile plant to satisfy the growing domestic demand for their petrochemical products. “It’s incredibly exciting,” said Rob. “China is the engine room for petrochemicals and chemicals in terms of demand. And it is the engine that will pull the world. “For INEOS it is an opportunity for us to operate in the largest market in the world. “We wanted to expand and INEOS’ market position and technological know-how meant we were the ideal choice.” China was often referred to as a second planet earth. “You have to go there to appreciate the scale of the place,” he said. “I have lived in the US but China is like nowhere else in the world.” INEOS Phenol is the world’s largest manufacturer of phenol and acetone. China is the world’s fastest growing market for both chemicals, which are used to produce polycarbonate, plastics, phenolic resins, synthetic fibres, such as nylon, and solvents. INEOS Nitriles is the world’s largest producer of acrylonitrile, which is the key ingredient to make carbon fibre, and China cannot get enough of it. Once both facilities are operational, INEOS Nitriles will be the only producer to have plants in each of the world’s largest acrylonitrile markets and INEOS Phenol will be the only company to be producing acetone and phenol in Europe, America and Asia. “It is the leading global producers in the world entering the largest global market,” said Rob. “It’s the perfect marriage.” INEOS Phenol’s joint venture with Sinopec Yangzi Petrochemical Company will lead to the creation of a 1.2 million ton cumene, phenol and acetone complex at Nanjing Chemical Industrial Park in Jiangsu Province. The plant, which will be capable of producing at least 400,000 tons of phenol and 250,000 tons of acetone every year, is due to start satisfying China’s needs by the end of 2016. The new plant will also allow INEOS’ European and US plants to focus on growth in their own markets. “This mutually beneficial partnership is an important development for INEOS Phenol and for INEOS in China,” said Harry Deans, CEO of INEOS Phenol. “It’s also the largest capital investment ever undertaken by INEOS. “Combining a strong, local partner like Sinopec YPC with our leading phenol technology and access to the market brings considerable value to our business and our customers.” INEOS Nitriles has gone into business with state-owned Tianjin Bohai Chemical Industry Group Corporation. Together they plan to build and operate a world-scale acrylonitrile plant in Tianjin, which will be designed using the latest INEOS process and catalyst technology. “We have not started building yet because we haven’t finalised the details, but we have aspirations,” said Rob. “We are widely viewed as the industry safety leader and we intend to bring our very high standards to China. “Safety performance is not great in China but they hope to learn from the way we do things, both in terms of personal safety and our processes. They want high Western standards.” Joint ventures of this type and scale with foreign companies are what China’s leaders want to help it tackle the problems of the past and create a more sustainable economy. Their clear, long-term vision to shift to a highly-efficient, low carbon economy – using advanced, manufacturing technology – is laid out in the China State Council’s 12th Five-Year Plan. Under the plan, China’s leaders promise to: Set new limits on energy consumption Clamp down on companies and industries that consume a lot of energy but produce very little Cut carbon emissions by up to 45% by the year 2020 Reduce China’s reliance on fossil fuels, especially coal Invest in energy-saving technology, and Tackle pollution It’s a challenge but China’s leaders believe it is achievable. Rob, who worked for BP for 25 years, said the speed at which INEOS worked also appealed to the Chinese. “INEOS is a slim, slick and easy company to work with and it’s made a massive difference,” he said. “The contrast between BP and INEOS, in terms of getting something approved, is like night and day.” He said once INEOS Nitriles had agreed on the right project, the right structure and the right location, the proposal was put to chairman Jim Ratcliffe who approved it. “Sometimes things can be approved at a frightening speed,” said Rob who has worked for INEOS for eight years. “But then you have to deliver.” That said, though, Rob explained that the Chinese approval processes had got more and more difficult over the years. “Ten years ago you could have started building anywhere and faced a fine,” he said. “If you ignored that today, construction can be stopped. Today there is an unprecedented level of care and diligence for the environment and its people.” And that, he said, was understandable. “Pollution in China is something that touches people’s lives,” he said. “In the major cities people wear face masks because it can be so bad.” Air pollution is now the biggest cause of civil unrest in China, with The World Bank estimating that 16 of the world’s 20 most polluted cities are within China’s borders. The Chinese Society for Environmental Sciences said the number of protests over pollution in China had increased by about 29% every year since 1966. “In 2011, the number of major environmental incidents, though, actually rose 120%,” said the society’s vice-chairman Yang Zhaofei. In September, the authorities in Beijing unveiled their own five-point plan to tackle pollution in the capital. “What’s new about this is the level of real determination and the level of detail,” said Alvin Lin, China Climate and Energy Policy Director with the Natural Resources Defense Council in Beijing. “There is a new resolve to do something serious about air pollution.” The World Resources Institute said China and the US were currently to blame for 43% of global emissions. China’s problem is that it relies so heavily on coal. “Coal provides China with 70% of its energy and nearly 80% of its electricity,” said Luke Schoen, who wrote a report for The World Resources Institute. Although it has vast domestic coal and gas resources, it has problems accessing it, so it increasingly relies on foreign imports. Its oil comes from the Middle East and Africa, its coal from Australia and Indonesia and its gas from Central Asia and Australia. “China’s leaders acknowledge that the country’s dependence on carbon for energy is a problem,” said Luke. “And that growing dependency on foreign energy is a strategic concern among China’s leaders.” China has discovered huge areas of shale gas but – unlike USA – it does not yet have the breakthrough technology to access it. In the meantime, China’s leaders are concentrating on maintaining growth whilst developing policies to cut carbon emissions and deploy more clean energy. “China actually already invests more in renewables than any other nation,” said Luke. In 2011 it invested $52 billion in renewable energy resources which rose to $67.7 billion last year, 50% more than the US. While other nations may view clean energy as a costly drag on economic growth, China does not. It believes its latest policies will help it to maintain its position as a major global player while tackling climate change – something that it believes poses a significant threat to its long-term prosperity. “By its own estimates, China ascribed $50 billion in direct economic losses to natural disasters in 2011,” said Luke. “And one independent study estimated that that figure could increase to nearly $748 billion per year by 2030 if no action is taken.”

    12 minutes read Issue 5
  • Kids switch off and get switched on…

    INEOS has never been one to run from a challenge. This one is no different. It wants to get kids running again and has launched a bold, new initiative that is doing just that. INEOS is hoping to inspire thousands of children to give the TV, the Internet, and video games a rest, and go out and have some fun. Chairman Jim Ratcliffe has turned his own passion for running into an initiative, which could, in turn, help to tackle one of the most serious global public health challenges facing the 21st century – child obesity. “It’s not rocket science,” he said. “We just want to get children out of the house. “Running is the basis of so many great sports so if our children catch the running bug early, they are more likely to stick to it. And that can only lead to them enjoying a more active and healthier lifestyle.” The first Go Run For Fun event – and it is one of scores planned throughout the UK – saw hundreds of children taking part in a mile-long run. And by the time you read this more than 10,000 children will have taken part. Former British hurdler Colin Jackson, an Olympic silver medalist, was in Newbury, London, to see them off. “Running is simple and kids do it naturally anyway so this is a great way for them to have fun with their mates,” he said. To ensure the campaign’s long-term success, though, INEOS is working with the people behind the iconic Great North Run to stage a series of small and large running events for children aged four to 11 all over the UK. By 2014, it is hoped more than 30,000 children will have taken part in one of the 70 planned Go Run For Fun events, rising to 50,000 – and 100 events – by 2016. “If this comes off – and I have no doubt that it will – it will be the biggest kids’ running initiative in the world,” said Brendan Foster, a former British Olympic long-distance runner who founded the BUPA Great North Run. “It’s also a fantastic legacy from London’s Olympic Games.” The role of Brendan and his team at Nova International will be contact Schools and Local Authorities to encourage children to take part in each event. “You cannot have a Great North Run without people so people will make this happen,” he said. “They will be the essential ingredient to the event’s longevity.” Initially, Brendan believes the INEOS fun runs will attract mostly kids who already enjoy running, and whose parents understand the mind, body and soul benefits of running – rather than those who class running as a chore. “We need to target the parents but where parents are difficult, it will be difficult to get those children involved initially,” he said. “That’s why we need to make the events appealing and inspire those who do take part. “Those kids will then inspire other kids to get involved. And parents will inspire other parents.” So why has this not been done before? “Good question,” said Brendan. “But who knows? “All I know is that we run the largest mass participation event in the UK and are happy encouraging people to participate,” he said. He said it was a combination of the right circumstances – Britain is still on a high after staging last year’s successful Olympic Games – and three like-minded people who wanted to make a difference. Those three people – Jim Ratcliffe, Brendan and Olympic gold medalist Sebastian Coe – met in London earlier this year. “It was INEOS’ inspiration, Jim’s idea,” said Brendan. “He had a very clear idea of what he wanted to happen and when. “It was a typically bold move. But Jim’s right and his approach is admirable.” Brendan said he was also delighted that the initiative had come, not from the government but, from the UK’s largest privately-owned manufacturing company. video The campaign is being launched in the UK, which has one of the highest rates of childhood obesity in Europe, but it has been designed so that it can easily be rolled out across Europe and America. “We will have events in Switzerland, France Germany, Belgium and the US but the main focus is the UK at the moment where kids are less active,” said Jim. That sedentary lifestyle – coupled with eating too many fatty, sugary foods – has led to a huge increase in the number of children in the UK with obesity. But the UK is not alone. The World Health Organization said child obesity was now so widespread that it regarded it as one of the most serious global public health challenges facing the 21st century. “Our key objective is simply to inspire children to be active,” said Jim. “Young children like to run around. It’s in their DNA. But so often children are told to slow down and sit still. This campaign is about encouraging children to run again.” Many of the runs will be timed to coincide with existing major running events, such as the Great North Run, to allow children to experience the thrill of taking part in a mass participation event. The Great North Run, which was founded in 1981, is now the world’s largest and most popular half marathon for adults attracted over 55,000 entrants this year. Along side this; a record 6,000 children entered the 4km Junior Great North Run. Brendan and his team are excited at what can be achieved through INEOS’ Go Run For Fun events. “It is such a fantastic initiative because it’s all about young kids simply having fun outside and enjoying running,” he said. “It’s not difficult. We are not trying to put a man on the Moon. We are just trying to get as many kids running for fun as possible. “It can be a competition for those who want it to be, but the objective is to encourage kids to run for fun. “If they go for a run and enjoy it, they might then want to get more involved in the competitive stuff. And they will be the future Great North and London Marathon runners and you can bet that at least one of those 50,000 kids will be at the Olympics.” For INEOS, the rewards will come in seeing young children enjoying sport. “Go Run for Fun really does have just one aim,” said Jim. “And that’s to get kids running. “There isn’t really a link to our business apart from the fact that we are making the investment to get this program up and running. “We don’t have public shareholders to influence or products that consumers can buy. This is just about getting kids running and having fun.” For more information or if you would like to plan an event visit: www.gorunforfun.com

    12 minutes read Issue 5
  • Best way to feel miles better

    Running is one of the best ways to improve the mind, body and soul. It’s also easy. “You don’t need any equipment and you can do it anywhere,” said Dr Fred Wadsworth, a medical director at Corperformance, which has worked closely with INEOS in the past. He said the medical profession was finally realising that running was not just about burning calories. “There are lots of studies now which show that running is as useful as taking anti-depressants for moderate depression,” he said. One of the biggest misconceptions is that running damages your joints. “If you are fit and well, it actually protects you from arthritis,” said Fred. “The problems arise when you have existing injuries. The best thing you can do is make sure you don’t get overweight.” Fred said running was the best – and quickest – way to get fit. He went on to praise INEOS’ Go Run For Fun initiative to get Britain’s kids running again. “It’s a no brainer but governments haven’t set up a campaign like this so it’s down to companies like INEOS to act,” he said. But he believed the key to its long-term success would be to inspire parents. “The most powerful influence in a child’s life is what his or her parents do,” he said. “They copy what they see. “And they are unlikely to get involved if a parent says: ‘What are you doing that for?’” INEOS is hoping that those, who do get involved, will become keen runners and enjoy a healthier lifestyle. For the long-term benefits of running are now well researched and well documented. Running gives your heart and lungs a workout, it improves circulation and reduces the risk of a heart attack, high blood pressure and stroke. It also relieves stress, improves endurance, boosts your immune system, increases energy and helps you to maintain a healthy body weight. Studies have further shown that healthy adults who exercise regularly are generally happier than those who don’t, they sleep better and their brains are sharper. video

    5 minutes read Issue 5
  • Debate: Is Competition good for kids?

    Is competition a good, or a bad, thing f or children? It’s a subject that has divided opinion for years. Some argue that it encourages a child to excel in today’s fiercely competitive world where we compete for everything be it a job, a partner or a house. Others say it can destroy self-esteem and lead to resentment. Whatever your view, the jury’s still out. We sought a few words of wisdom from those who have had something to say on the subject … Bad:  Most of us were raised to believe that without competition we would all become fat, lazy, and mediocre. And I used to think that competition could be healthy and fun if we kept it in perspective. But there is no such thing as ‘healthy’ competition. In a competitive culture, a child is told that it isn’t enough to be good. He must triumph over others. But the more he competes, the more he needs to compete to feel good about himself. But winning doesn’t build character; it just lets a child gloat temporarily. By definition, not everyone can win a contest. If one child wins, another cannot. Competition leads children to envy winners, to dismiss losers. Co-operation, on the other hand, is marvelously successful at helping children to communicate effectively, to trust in others and to accept those who are different from themselves. Children feel better about themselves when they work with others instead of against them, and their self-esteem doesn’t depend on winning a spelling test or a Little League game.American Alfie Kohn, author of No Contest:The Case Against Competition Sports’ competitions are bad for children if those taking part are expected to achieve more than they are capable of. We realised this and, as such, have changed the emphasis in club athletics nationally. New disciplines in the field of kids’ athletics have been designed that are especially adapted for children aged between 6 and 11. Priority is given to team competition with children taking part in a great variety of disciplines. All the children wishing to take part are allowed to do so and they all proudly go home after a formal ceremony equipped with a written document attesting their participation. Athletics competitions have always been popular with children. Children feel the need to compare their strength and skills to others. Since the beginning of this year we have strengthened that innate motivation by offering children new forms of competitions and disciplines that are even more attractive now, more challenging and thrilling.David Deister, project manager, German Athletics Federation Competition has been shown to be useful up to a certain point and no further, but co-operation, which is the thing we must strive for today, begins where competition leaves off.The late Franklin D. Roosevelt, former President of the United States There are enough opportunities in life for children to have a disappointment and to learn to handle that. At our school we are helping them to get ready for all stages of life. We don’t need them to be losing while they’re children in our school.Elizabeth Morley, Principal of the Institute of Child Study Laboratory School, Toronto, Canada Good: Healthy competition inspires kids to do their best – not just good enough. When students compete they will become more inquisitive, research independently, and learn to work with others. They will strive to do more than is required. These abilities prepare children for future situations of all kinds. Whether it’s applying to college, seeking a promotion, or finding a cure for cancer, the ability to be competitive will give them an important edge.Jennifer Veale, founder and executive director of TrueCompetition.org Competition can be a double-edged sword for kids, promoting positive values under the right conditions but creating negative environments that are demotivating under the wrong ones. Competition can be healthy when it provides feedback to kids about their performance and improvement, when winning is not the sole or primary objective, and when kids get to learn about themselves under challenging situations. Under these circumstances, competition can teach invaluable lessons our children do not typically learn in the classroom. Unfortunately, the frequent win-at-all costs mentality associated with many competitive endeavors can undermine children’s motivation and lead them to avoid or even disengage from activities they may otherwise enjoy. It is critical that coaches, educators, and parents work to teach kids these valuable lessons from competition. That way, win or lose, our children will learn, grow, and be better prepared for life, which (like competition) provides highlights, adversity, and continual opportunities to play well with others and treat opponents with dignity and respect.John Tauer, Men’s Head Basketball Coach, Professor of Psychology, University of St Thomas, Minnesota Competition is good for children. It is quite normal for people to judge themselves against others, thus in that respect competition is quite healthy. In a supportive environment it can teach a child to accept failure without losing self-esteem. However, it becomes unhealthy when the competitor is forced to compete or feels that they have to compete in order to gain love or status within the family.Lyn Kendall, Gifted Child Consultant for British Mensa Our national preoccupation with ‘safety first’ and prevailing climate of risk aversion is creating a generation of children who are ill prepared for a world that requires risk taking on a daily basis. Competition teaches critical thinking, decision-making and problem solving. Without those skills countries can’t compete in a global economy. Other proponents of competition in North America claim that competition enhances learning, physical fitness and deters juvenile delinquency.Sir Digby Jones, former UK Government Minister of State for UK Trade & Investment We need to end the ‘all must have prizes’ culture and get children playing and enjoying competitive sports from a young age, linking them up with sports clubs so they can pursue their dreams. That’s why the new UK national curriculum now includes a requirement for primary schools to provide competitive sport.UK Prime Minister David Cameron

    6 minutes read Issue 5
  • The life-saver

    INEOS is obsessive when it comes to safety. But when you work in a high-risk environment, you cannot afford to be complacent. Safety runs through the very heart of all that INEOS does. But INEOS-owned Norward AS exists for one reason alone. And that’s to save lives, as Øyvind Klæboe knows only too well. In August 2003 an Indian helicopter ferrying 25 offshore rig workers nose-dived into the sea, its blades still spinning. The crew, still strapped in their seats, died as the helicopter sank in seconds. Only two passengers survived. They escaped by swimming out of the rear clamshell doors, and were rescued. Both of them were also the only two to have undergone helicopter underwater escape training (HUET). Tragedies like that remind Øyvind Klæboe why the work his team at INEOS-owned Norward AS in Norway matters. They have been teaching offshore workers how to escape in the event of a helicopter ditching in the sea for the past seven years.  video “There is absolutely no doubt about the value of HUET,” he said. “Can it mean the difference between life and death? Absolutely. “You literally have seconds to decide what to do in the event of a crash and, with training, you would have a much greater chance of survival.” Mechanical failure, pilot error and bad weather can all cause a helicopter to crash. A helicopter can fall out of the sky like a stone, spin horribly out of control or actually land quite gently. Whatever happens, the key to survival is to get out as quickly as possible.  “You don’t know how long you have got before a helicopter turns over and sinks so your first priority is to get out of the chopper,” he said. “But then you can face a whole host of other challenges.” Those ‘other challenges’ can include adverse weather conditions, icy cold waters, rough seas, poor visibility, fire or petrol in the water. “You cannot say for certain what you will face but the course teaches people to be prepared for that uncertainty,” he said. It also gives them the confidence to face the unimaginable and stay calm. At Norward, instructors use a mock helicopter in a pool to demonstrate what will happen when a helicopter ditches in the sea and then, in all likelihood due to the fact that helicopters are top heavy, flips over. A wave machine, wind generator and lighting are all used to create different scenarios. “Basically we are able to recreate different situations under very controlled conditions,” said Øyvind. Helicopter crashes are thankfully rare but since 2006 all offshore personnel have to undergo HUET by law. “No one today can go off-shore without a ‘green card’. That means that HUET is mandatory to all employees and visitors,” said Øyvind. “In fact anyone who flies to an off-shore installation must have undergone the basic training.” During the eight-hour HUET course at Norward, workers are taught how to cope with both the physical and psychological stress of ditching in the sea. It’s the type of training that Øyvind hopes they will never need, but knows that, if they do need it, it will be the most important training they have ever had. INEOS acquired the Norward training facility when it bought Norway’s Norsk Hydro ASA’s polymers business in 2007. By then it had been transformed from a simple, in-house emergency response centre, affiliated to Norsk, into a successful business – with a five million Euro turnover – offering training to outside companies and members of the public. “Step by step Norward took up new challenges,” said Øyvind. “We ended up developing our own employees, improved in-house competence and penetrated new markets. “We now serve customers from the private market all over Norway.” One of their biggest customers is Statoil, which this year asked Norward to launch a new course to help its offshore workers learn how – among other things – to help a helicopter pilot land safely on an oil rig, and what to do in the event of an accident. Apart from the standard fire-fighting course modules, and first aid, Øyvind’s team also offers training in industrial safety, and how to tackle gas and chemical leaks. “Courses like these have industrial clients from all over Norway and Norward is one of the best suppliers,” said Øyvind. For more information visit: http://norward.no/

    14 minutes read Issue 5
  • Who dares, wins

    This year is the 60th anniversary of the first ascent of Mount Everest by Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay in 1953. In 1998, a 12-year-old Scout was listening to a talk about Everest. That boy was Rhys Jones who went on to climb Everest on his 20th birthday and, in doing so, set a record as the youngest person to scale the highest mountains in the world’s seven continents. Mount Everest is not for the faint-hearted. It is a hostile, unforgiving place. A place where, five miles up, death lives in the faces of frozen corpses that litter the route to the top. Apart from the lack of oxygen – high altitude can strip you of your senses – avalanches, rockslides, hurricane-force winds, shifting glaciers, blizzards, frostbite, pneumonia, exhaustion and freezing temperatures await climbers in the ‘death zone’. “It’s called the death zone and it’s even less fun than it sounds,” said climber Rhys Jones. “Taking the endless steps upwards in thin air is like swimming in glue. There’s ice inside the tents. It’s miserable. You have no appetite, you cannot rest properly and it’s brutally cold.” But he who dares, wins. And for Rhys, who had dreamed about climbing to the top of the world’s highest mountain since he was 12, all the pain would be worth those five minutes he would spend on the 29,035ft (8,850m) summit. “I heard a talk about Mount Everest when I was a Scout,” he said. “I didn’t really know anything about mountains until then. But I just decided I wanted to climb Everest one day and the rest of what happened was a result of working towards that goal.” The goal was not only to conquer Everest, but to become the youngest person to complete the Seven Summits Challenge by climbing the highest mountains in each of the world’s seven continents. Mount Everest would be the last of the seven, but first he needed to raise £30,000. “I had sent literally hundreds of letters to potential sponsors but had very little luck,” he said. “But then INEOS stepped in which effectively guaranteed I could do the climb.” INEOS chairman Jim Ratcliffe agreed to meet Rhys to discuss the planned expedition. “I had no idea what to expect when I met him,” said Rhys. “I remember turning up in my beaten up hatchback and wearing a suit. He was wearing jeans and a T-shirt.” The two chatted for an hour. “I got the impression nothing is lost on him and he seemed very engaged the whole time we were talking, which was impressive considering how much was probably going on,” said Rhys. “It was also a sign that he had good people working for him in that he could spend a big chunk of the day talking to me.” The face-to-face meeting resulted in a £30,000 sponsorship deal with INEOS. “It was a game changer,” said Rhys. With the money in his pocket – and an INEOS flag to plant at the summit – Rhys could now concentrate on the journey that lay ahead. In May 2006, Rhys, three other climbers, two guides and five Sherpas left Everest Base Camp. “We were the first team of the year to go for the summit so we had to fix rope all the way and break trail in the snow which was a test of character,” he said. “To this very day, that experience provides me with good perspective on what is difficult or not.” Fear, though, was something the team left behind. “To be successful, you can’t afford to have demons,” said Rhys. “Of course I had worries. There were some very close calls. I was nearly taken out twice by an avalanche. People do die on Everest, but I remember being very objective about it, and only scoring things as hit or miss. So long as they were all ‘misses’, I’d continue. “I just hoped I’d be lucky with the weather and not end up in the wrong place at the wrong time.” Had his carefully laid-out plans unraveled – and on Everest, they can unravel at breathtakingly terrifying speeds – Rhys would have turned back. No matter how close he was to the summit. “No mountain is worth my fingers or toes or my life,” he said. “I’d just go back again. The mountain isn’t going anywhere. Everest, sadly, seems to encourage intelligent people to take stupid risks.” Everest has so far claimed more than 200 lives and about 150 bodies have never been recovered. “You need an overriding mental toughness to climb Everest that stops you from ever turning around unless it’s too dangerous,” he said. “If it’s not, you just have to dig in and get on with it.” Rhys reached the summit, which was shrouded in cloud on May 17 2006 at 3pm after a final 16-hour climb. The relief was immense. “I was monumentally relieved to reach the top but I was also acutely aware of the fact that it was late and I had a very long descent ahead of me,” he said. “I just unrolled the INEOS flag, took off my oxygen mask, had a few photographs taken, said ‘thank god for that’ and went down.” Today Rhys runs his own business, RJ7 Expeditions, a company that operates from offices in four continents, helping others to plan trips of a lifetime. “It’s not in the same league as INEOS but we are growing aggressively,” he said with a smile. Lessons learned from climbing have helped him to shape the business. “There’s a lot of synergy between the two,” he said. “Managing a team in a high risk environment, achieving goals and being ambitious apply equally to both.” His also views risks in life as necessary. “A degree of risk is usually the key to achieving something,” he said. “The risks I take climbing are still sometimes a matter of life or death, the risks I take in business may be more financial. But I treat them both in a similar way, and focus on the facts, the likelihoods, the outcomes and then make a judgement.” He believes many businesses fail today due to poor management and lack of focus. “A poorly motivated team is a huge money pit yet it can cost relatively little to remedy,” he said. “A lack of clear focus is also a trap, as many companies try to grab what they can in the current climate, instead of sticking to what they’re good at.” Rhys is – and will always be – driven by his passion. “In all the years I have been climbing, I have never felt like I’ve conquered a mountain,” he said. “I just feel lucky to have enjoyed the climb and been able to stand on the summit for a few moments.”

    10 minutes read Issue 5
  • All power to Switzerland

    The world needs chemistry now more than ever. Far from being a drain on society, the chemical industry is best placed to understand what needs to be done to create a sustainable world and, more importantly, it knows how to achieve it. So far 11 countries have signed up to SusChem Europe. Switzerland is next. And INEOS – a company that thrives on finding innovative solutions to challenging problems – is in the driving seat. The Fukushima nuclear disaster – triggered by an earthquake and a massive tsunami in Japan in March 2011 – sent shockwaves around the world. Germany shut down eight of its reactors, Italy voted overwhelmingly to keep their country nuclear free and Spain banned the construction of new reactors. There was a similar reaction in Switzerland, which actually was the first country in Europe to announce plans to phase out nuclear power in the wake of the crisis in Japan. In its place, the Federal Council and Parliament laid the foundations for a new strategy for Swiss energy to 2050. Initially Switzerland will have to rely on imported energy and electricity, which will increase its carbon footprint and presents a huge political and economic challenge. But that bold decision has also created a real opportunity – and incentive – for Switzerland to use energy more responsibly and upgrade the use of carbon – as a feedstock rather than a fuel. In November SusChem Switzerland will be launched at an Ecochem gathering of the world’s most influential industry and government leaders, scientists and innovators in Basel. And the timing of this INEOS-driven initiative could not be better. “INEOS has been one of the key companies behind SusChem Switzerland right from the start,” said Greet Van Eetvelde, chairman of SusChem Switzerland. Its aims will be to find ways of cutting carbon emissions, reducing energy consumption, managing resources effectively, handling waste and developing clean technologies. “Industrial symbiosis will be a key focus,” said Greet. “To make things happen, different industry sectors will need to find new ways of working together to build a shared vision for the future that benefits all.” Greet, who works for INEOS Europe, said process industry produced a lot of waste heat that could easily be re-used onsite, by other industries or even in neighbouring communities. “That’s the future,” she said. “And it is a win-win situation for all parties. One industry may have a question; another the answer. We will act as the glue in between.” Today INEOS works closely with the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) to create energy integration and optimisation on the INEOS production sites. Last year INEOS also agreed to financially support innovative and entrepreneurial projects involving the EPFL researchers until 2022. Greet said, “She hoped the ‘INEOS Innogrant’ would support some fascinating laboratory research, especially in the field of green chemistry.” The first ‘INEOS Innogrant’ will be awarded at the SusChem conference to Imperix, a young company that has been tackling power grid stability. Energy production, management and storage, as well as CO2 capture and utilisation, will also be researched at the EPFL Valais Wallis campus in the Swiss canton of Valais. One study has been focusing on whether Switzerland could take advantage of its glaciers, which are melting at an alarming rate due to rising temperatures. When glaciers meet, new lakes are formed. But the study explored whether these natural reservoirs could in fact help to boost hydroelectric power production. So far 11 countries, including Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, and the UK, currently have their own SusChem National Technology Platforms. Switzerland – thanks to a push from INEOS – will be the 12th. The Swiss initiative will be launched at the three-day Ecochem conference, which will see the brightest sparks from across the chemical industry and value chains gathered in one place with one aim: to speed up ‘green chemistry’. This network of national technology platforms are all linked to SusChem Europe – The European Technology Platform for Sustainable Chemistry, which was launched as a joint initiative between The European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic) and others in 2004. Far from being a ‘talking shop’, it has become a force for good and is now formally recognised by the European Commission. Over the years SusChem has helped to develop advanced materials and process technologies that have led to a more efficient use of energy, feedstock and water. And It is now very much at the heart of the European Union’s growth strategy and also ‘Horizon 2020’, a new Research and Innovation Framework program due to be launched next year to tackle climate change, energy and food security, health and the ageing population. In short, the European Commission believes the European chemical industry has a pivotal role to play in creating a better future for us all. SusChem Switzerland will be building on SusChem Europe’s vision and mission to create an even more competitive and innovative Europe where sustainable chemistry provides solutions for future generations. “INEOS knows it can help,” said Greet. For INEOS, which moved its headquarters to Rolle in 2010, its involvement also gives the company a chance to play a bigger part in shaping Switzerland’s future, while at the same time increasing its own presence. Cefic said it was delighted at INEOS’ decision to become a key player in SusChem Switzerland. “Switzerland is an important manufacturing hub for Europe, both in base chemicals and fine chemicals for active ingredients for health and many more,” said Esther Agyeman-Budu, Cefic’s communication counsellor for research and innovation. “Companies, like INEOS, which has more ‘know how’ on the production side are needed to rejuvenate manufacturing. With our limited resources, we need to ensure that our resources are maximized, in terms of the value they bring to society.” For more information about the Ecochem conference, log on to www.ecochemex.com, or for SusChem, visit www.suschem.org

    8 minutes read Issue 5
  • Climate of change

    Some of the world’s leading chemical companies have challenged themselves to tackle a global problem to preserve the Earth’s natural resources. By 2030 INEOS, AGA, AkzoNobel, Borealis and Perstorp, the chemical cluster in Stenungsund, Sweden, want to be producing plastics and chemicals used for tubes, pipes, flooring, paints, cables, detergents, and many other applications, where possible, without fossil oil, coal or natural gas. For INEOS in Stenungsund, which relies solely on fossil fuels, it will be a tough challenge. But Lars Josefsson, Chairman of INEOS Sverige AB, says finding and switching to renewable fuels is vitally important, not only to Sweden but the rest of the world if it is to help reverse the effects of climate change. “It is a major challenge but we want to help build a future society where resources are used efficiently and all our products are recycled,” he said. “We want to use renewable resources to develop more sustainable products.” The chemical cluster with the five companies in Stenungsund, are viewed among the best in the world. As such, they have already secured significant funding since launching their vision – Sustainable Chemistry 2030. “If we succeed, it would mean a significant improvement towards the environment and the economic prosperity of our region,” said Lars. “We know that it’s possible but it cannot happen by itself. It requires many players to achieve it, including the collaboration with academia, politicians and other industries. We all need to work together.” And that’s what they have been doing since they outlined their vision. So far they have won funding from, among others, the European Union and several Swedish government agencies. Their vision to break their dependence on the Earth’s reserves of oil and gas, has also earned them the respect of the local community. Within 20 years, the five key companies believe Stenungsund will be the engine in Western Sweden’s economy, the hub for manufacturing of sustainable products within the chemical industry, and the place for companies with similar mindsets to thrive and develop. But the journey towards 2030 has arguably already started. Both INEOS and Borealis have been involved in pushing and supporting Stena Recycling’s plans to develop the technology to enable thousands of tons of cable plastics to be recycled and upgraded to new products yearly. The recycling started a couple of years ago and every year thousands of tons of plastics (PVC and PE) is successfully recycled. “That previously wasn’t possible due to the high content of metal in the material,” said Lars. Another example involves AkzoNobel, which invest a lot in research and development. One end – commercial – result is a water-based and effective dirt and grease remover, which now allows more than 97% of water to be re-used in car washes. Most of all new car washing stations in Sweden are built using this technology. “Energy is also very important,” said Lars. “And we have a project ongoing for energy saving. “A total site analysis study carried out by Chalmers University of Technology and funded by the Swedish energy agency is showing a big saving potential if we look at all the five companies together. “A second phase has now been started to find out how this potential can be realised.” The chemical cluster has also launched a project for increased plastic recycling from hospitals. “There is a lot of plastic used in hospitals including PVC,” said Lars. “We have now a consortium of partners, including the county of Stockholm and the west coast region of Sweden. In addition to INEOS other partners include Universities and Institutes of Sweden, Recycling Companies and PVC MedAlliance*. The aim is to establishing a sustainable management system for medical plastic waste through close collaboration between various stakeholders and field projects.” Another project is a joint program with leading Swedish paper and pulp companies to explore possibly sourcing renewable raw materials from forests. Sweden, which has the third largest paper and pulp industry in Europe, is in a unique position in that large swathes of the country are covered in forest. But with paper consumption decreasing, the industry is looking for new applications. The project, Forest-Chemistry, is supported by the Swedish government agency VINNOVA. Sustainable Chemistry 2030, meanwhile, has also won support from academic institutions such as Chalmers University of Technology, SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden, The University of Gothenburg, IVL, and Luleå/Umeå University among others. “Our vision, Sustainable Chemistry 2030, has increased the co-operation in the cluster and is a platform to communicate that chemistry is needed to move towards a bio-based society,” said Lars. “This will be very important when we also discuss other important issues with the politicians.” Lars said the year 2030 provides clear focus and maintains the pressure to achieve our target. “We think it’s possible to reach our goal,” he said. *Read more about PVC Med Alliance a www.pvcmed.org/

    6 minutes read Issue 5
  • Ethylene terminal gives INEOS edge over rivals

    INEOS Oxide has opened a new million tonne deep-sea terminal at its plant in Belgium so that it can access competitively-priced ethylene from around the world. Video CEO Hans Casier said it meant the Antwerp site would be able to compete successfully with the best in the world. The new terminal, which is at the heart of the second largest petrochemical region in the world, was officially opened by the Kris Peeters, the Minister-President of Flanders. “This new terminal gives a new strength to the petrochemical cluster in Antwerp, which for the past 50 years has brought skilled jobs and prosperity to Flanders,” he said. “This investment shows that INEOS sees a future in Antwerp and is a sign that the policy of Flanders is starting to bear fruit.” The terminal will be capable of unloading shipments of ethylene from the world’s largest ethylene vessels for INEOS’ European plants located at the Antwerp site and also those connected along the ARG pipeline, which links Antwerp to Köln and the Ruhr industrial areas. By connecting the terminal to INEOS Oxide in Antwerp and beyond, via the pipeline, to INEOS Oligomers LAO/PAO facility in Feluy Belgium, and INEOS Olefins & Polymers in Lillo and Köln, INEOS will be able to supply a competitively-priced raw material to efficiently balance its requirements across many of its main European facilities.

    4 minutes read Issue 5
  • Industry viewed in a new light

    The French glimpsed industry in a different light this summer. Giant, illuminated images and photographs of people working at INEOS and Petroineos were beamed on to huge storage tanks, and big photographs of the Lavéra refinery were also displayed on buildings in Martigues and Port-de-Bouc. The occasion – dubbed Industrial Night – was part of European Capital of Culture Marseille-Provence’s tribute to its industrial heritage. The Lavéra site – including subsidiaries Appryl, Naphtachimie and Oxochimie – is normally closed to the public, but that too opened its doors. Martine Le Ster, from Petroineos Manufacturing France SAS, said more than 700 people took advantage of the special opening hours and enjoyed bus tours with full commentary from actors. Elsewhere plays and concerts were staged and other companies’ sites also welcomed streams of visitors.

    1 minute read Issue 5
  • Unipetrol puts faith in INEOS

    The Czech Republic’s leading refinery and petrochemical group has chosen INEOS to help it develop its polyethylene business. Unipetrol has licensed INEOS Technologies’ Innovene S Process so it can manufacture medium density and high density polyethylene at its cracker complex in Litvinov. Unipetrol said the construction of the new polyethylene unit was a key investment project in its medium-term strategy. “We have chosen the newest technology, which will allow us to innovate our current product portfolio and satisfy most demanding requirements of our customers,” says Marek Świtajewski, Chairman of the Board of Directors and General Director. The technology will also improve production safety and reliability.

    1 minute read Issue 5
  • INEOS Capital

    Sustainability runs through the very heart of the way INEOS operates around the world. But how does the company approach this much talked about subject? To find out, Tom Crotty met Jim Dawson, a nonexecutive director of INEOS, the chairman of INEOS Technologies, Oxide and Bio and someone with vast experience of the petrochemicals industry. video Tom: Many companies have invested in sustainability departments but INEOS hasn’t. Doesn’t INEOS view sustainability as important enough to warrant its own department? Jim: Quite the contrary. Sustainability is important to INEOS. It is a feature of all of our activities. We are not the sort of company that has a big central office that says ‘Sustainability’. We expect every business and everybody in it to follow that approach as part of its day-to-day business. I can remember when – because I am old – some 40 years ago the price of oil was $2 (about $10 in today’s terms) and energy was cheap. Today, and for the past couple of years, it has been about $110 globally and therefore there is a big pressure to improve energy consumption and also to produce products that save energy, so a good example of this is where we improve the operation and efficiency of our plants. We invest in better heat exchangers. We improve our reliability and reduce flaring. We improve our furnaces to be more efficient. As a result our energy consumption drops quite a bit. And the products we produce also provide significant benefit to society. Products such as expanded polystyrene for example. We have a special version called EPS Silver that is used to insulate buildings. It is a special form of EPS that can improve energy efficiency by 20% compared with the standard product. That’s just one example of producing products that are good for sustainable development. On average, across chemical products, for every kilogram of carbon emitted in their production, two kilograms of carbon are saved in their use. Tom: INEOS often talks about the importance of being a good neighbour. Why is that so important to the sustainability of the business? Jim: It is important in many ways. We have to maintain trust and have a good relationship with our neighbouring communities. One reason, of course, is that we employ quite a lot of people, at our sites, who live in the neighbouring communities. It is very important to be transparent about what is going on our sites. A good example is on safety and environment. Both are very import to us. If we get that right, our communities know we are doing the right thing. We take Safety Health and Environmental performance very seriously at the highest level. We have 15 businesses and we have board meetings every month or two. At the start of every meeting we have a session on personal safety, on process safety and environmental impact. And I am pleased to say that last year our personal safety records was one of the best ever in INEOS history and the environmental impact record was one of the best in INEOS history, so I think we are doing good things for the community and ourselves by working on that. We also have community meetings at many sites so that people are totally aware what’s going on in their neighbouring plant. Tom: Another important aspect of sustainability is attracting and retaining the right people. How is INEOS investing in training and developing the best workforce? Jim: Ours is a technically demanding business and there is plenty of competition so we need to make sure we attract and retain the right people, and that is at all levels in the organisation. It may be apprenticeships where we are trying to improve operations on our plants and provide opportunities for further progression. Or it may be graduate programmes where we are trying to get other training for those people so that they can diversify their career, get opportunities in different businesses and progress through the company. Because of that, we do a lot of work with various institutions, with schools, with technical colleges and universities to try to identify and attract those best people, that will one day be the leaders of our businesses. Tom: Jim, we have talked a lot about the culture of the business. And the culture within INEOS seems to encourage the development of an entrepreneurial spirit. Why is that? Jim: INEOS has its own style. It is focused. It focuses on profit. It focuses on safety and it wants an entrepreneurial, “can-do” style. And we need that because the chemical industry is complex and competitive. Chemicals are used in transport, in medicine, in communications, in buildings, in a whole raft of important markets and we need an entrepreneurial spirit to make the best of those. And there are some good examples. Liquid food packaging is important to all of us. We can make the central barriers 35% thinner by using a different catalyst in the polyethylene that forms them. We also do simple things like using a different form of high density polyethylene to reduce the weight of bottle tops. It is a trivial thing but when you think of the billions of bottles that are produced and the contents consumed, then small amounts of change like that make a big difference. Another example of entrepreneurial thinking is in our bio-fuels. We have developed a process to convert organic waste into bio-ethanol, and that organic waste can be municipal solid waste. It is then gasified into syngas, which is carbon monoxide and hydrogen. That then reacts with micro-organisms and they convert it into ethanol. We have constructed an eight million gallon, commercial scale plant in Florida. It is mechanically complete. It is the first plant in the world. It is new technology so we are going through a quite time consuming mechanism of starting the plant up. Dealing with solids at the front end or liquids in the middle takes time to optimise. When completed we will be producing bio-ethanol on a commercial scale that goes into the nation’s fuel supply. And that’s certainly an example of sustainable development. Tom: Why is it so important that companies like ours create and develop products that make a difference? Jim: Quite simply, it is the nature of the chemicals business. It’s important that we produce new products for what the world requires. And sometimes those products may be common ones. For example, chlorine is a commodity that has been around for many, many decades and yet the chlorine we produce in the UK purifies 98% of the country’s water supply. Now that is a statistic to be proud of. We have also developed a bio-chlor membrane process to remove mercury and improve the efficiency of making this chlorine by some 30%. Another example is synthetic motor oils. Car engines are getting more and more complex and they are getting more and more efficient and therefore they need high quality motor oils to operate them. We produce synthetic oils and this goes into top-end lubricants. But it doesn’t stop there. We also use similar things in compressor boxes and in gear boxes and a good example is a special form of lubricant that we have developed for wind turbines. You can imagine if you have set up a wind turbine - it is on a tall structure and the gear box is high in the sky – you won’t want to be climbing up and down that structure every week to lubricate it. That’s why we have developed products that have a good sheer strength, last a long time, are good lubricants, reduce friction, and are ideal to extend the service life of the wave of wind turbines we see around the world. We are also a producer of acrylonitrile, which is the precursor to carbon fibre. Carbon fibre is light and strong. If you use them in aircraft you can reduce fuel consumption by about 30%. Of course, you are moving a lighter structure around the sky so it is not just carbon fibre in golf clubs. In transport you can make a big difference. We do feel at INEOS that we make products that make a real difference.

    20 minutes read Issue 4
  • The importance of forward thinking

    Companies wanting to grow sustainable businesses must have a rich source of talent to tap into. But when you are faced with ageing workforces and a shortage of skills, it becomes critical. Like all Science, Engineering and Technology companies INEOS knows that only too well. It’s one of the reasons it works so hard to ensure that that INEOS is a rewarding place to work so that they can attract – and more importantly, develop and retain – talented employees Forward-thinking companies do just that. They think ahead. They think about the future. They plan. And an essential part of that plan means working out exactly who are the future stars of your business. And that has never been more important for the chemical industry. An ageing workforce combined with a skills shortage is now having a profound effect on all industries, says The European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic). For the chemical industry, which needs a continuous stream of skilled, highly trained, highly disciplined and motivated employees to survive in highly competitive world markets, it’s a particular worry because of the decline in the number of students who view science as a career. Part of the problem is to do with the image of science in schools and the public’s generally negative perception of industry. Earlier this year Cefic published its first-ever report on how the chemical industry in Europe should work towards sustainability. It said the chemical industry had to do more to change its public image – and believed it could, if the industry were more open, engaged more with students, governments and stakeholders, and publicly demonstrated how its products made a difference to society. “Our aim is to make chemistry and our business an even more attractive employment option,” said Cefic. As a company, INEOS has arguably started to do that. It knows it needs to raise its public profile globally so that is able to attract the next generation of researchers, engineers, managers and line workers. For despite INEOS’ position in the world you would not be alone if you said: ‘I’ve never heard of INEOS.’ To address the balance, INEOS has been busy building solid bridges with schools, colleges, universities, and local communities. Its aim is always the same: to inspire and excite the brightest young sparks to want to work for them – and reassure communities that it cares about their wellbeing too. “Building positive relations with our local communities and making our company a great place to work make good business sense,” said Anne-Gret Iturriaga Abarzua, Communications Manager at INEOS’ Köln site. “And both are essential to ensuring the long-term success of our company.” The approach is working. In America and Germany, where INEOS works closely with schools, universities and organisations, it has effectively been able to shape its own destiny by recruiting exactly the type of people it needs. “In short we have been able to establish a talent pipeline,” Sam Scheiner, HR director at Olefins & Polymer USA, told INCH magazine. Much of the good work, though, that INEOS does goes on – quietly – behind the scenes. Dr Anne-Gret Iturriaga Abarzua recently addressed a global science conference in Helsinki, Finland, which was organised by the Global Network of Science Academies to highlight how schools and industry needed to prepare tomorrow’s workforce. INEOS – along with the other chemical industries in Stenungsung, Sweden – is also heavily involved with Molekylverkstan, a world class science centre that last year alone welcomed 50,000 visitors. There, young children are encouraged to experiment with exhibits of molecules to help them understand how the world really works. “Molekylverkstan is a platform for the chemical industries,” said Carita Johansson, Communications Officer at INEOS ChlorVinyls in Stenungsund. “And our ultimate aim is to raise awareness and interest in science.” In addition, INEOS works with the local specialist Technical College to help shape the students’ courses so that they are relevant to life in industry. “The co-operation between the chemical industries and the schools is important because it means we are more likely to interest talented children that will one day be future employees with the skills we need,” she said. Elsewhere, though, INEOS’ biggest hurdle is the fact that many outside the company remain unaware of INEOS even though it employs 15,000 people and operates 51 manufacturing sites in 11 countries. “Considering the size of INEOS, we have never really sold the INEOS story as well as we should,” said Jill Dolan, INEOS Group HR Director. To help tell that story, this year, INEOS attended some top university careers fairs in the US and Europe for the first time. But tempting the very best to join an organisation is not enough, says Nathalie Crutzen, Accenture chairman in Sustainable Strategy, HEC-Management School of the University of Liege. She said companies also needed to do more to improve the lot of the employee – and those living in and working close to chemical sites. “If we want to reach the objectives of the macroeconomic goal of sustainable development, firms also need to improve the social aspects, such as the wellbeing of workers and the wealth of the population around the firm,” she said. It’s an area in which INEOS again addresses as part of its day to day operation. “We work hard to ensure that INEOS is a rewarding place for our staff to work because we know that a highly skilled workforce is vital for the long-term sustainability of our company,” said Jill. “We also want and need to maintain the trust of communities living and working close to our sites and are committed to supporting them because it underpins our licence to operate.”

    8 minutes read Issue 4
  • A safety first for INEOS

    Safety is INEOS’ top priority. The company knows that its businesses won’t last long if it takes the safety of their employees and those living close to its manufacturing plants for granted. For years INEOS as a group has kept very tight control on its performance, using a system it inherited from ICI. Today it is doing things differently. It wants the world to be able to judge its performance against the very best The world will soon be able to fairly judge INEOS’ safety performance against other petrochemical companies. Multi-national chemical giants Shell, Dow Chemical, BP, and Exxon have, for years, reported their workplace injuries and illnesses according to the rules of the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), a federal agency of the United States Department of Labour that was founded during Richard Nixon’s US presidency in 1970. For years INEOS – a company that has grown from acquisition – has used a system for recording ‘classified reportable injuries’ and illnesses that it inherited from ICI. Now, though, it has decided as a Group to report under OSHA’s Umbrella, in line with other companies. “Although the OSHA record keeping is an American-based system, it is recognised globally,” said Stephen Yee, Business Safety Health and Environment Manager based at INEOS ChlorVinyls. “This will make it easier for us to compare our safety performance against the likes of Exxon,” he said. “We will now be able to compare like for like.” INEOS’ businesses in the US already fall under OSHA regulations and INEOS Olefins & Polymers USA’s two largest facilities have already earned OSHA Star and Merit ratings under the Voluntary Protection Program (VPP). Companies that qualify to join this programme must operate an effective health and safety systems that meets rigorous performance-based criteria. In short, they are deemed to go above and beyond what OSHA expects of them. The INEOS system has worked extremely well and has enabled the company to significantly improve the safety performance of its businesses. As the company has grown over the years INEOS saw no need to change it. The decision to now switch to OSHA record-keeping guidelines is a big and bold step. “OSHA is very different,” said Stephen. Whereas INEOS would not log an incident as a ‘classified reportable injury’ if a member of staff were prescribed paracetomol by a company doctor, OSHA would expect it to be recorded under its recording guidelines. “Safety remains our highest priority and by making this change we will continue to monitor and improve our safety performance but the company will be recording events in a slightly different way” said Stephen. To make the transition easier – and so that staff know that INEOS’ safety performance has not deteriorated overnight – Stephen said he had compiled a report to show how INEOS would have fared under OSHA record-keeping guidelines since 2002. “We wanted to give staff an indication of what the figures would have looked like, across the company,” he said. Since October, INEOS has been running both systems to ensure continuous improvement. “By doing that our employees can continue to see what our performance would have been like under our old system,” said Stephen. Making this change does not alter the company’s legal compliance and INEOS will continue to meet its regulatory requirements. “In every country we have local, legal requirements,” he said. “That won’t change.” For the past four years INEOS’ safety record has improved year on year, and 2012 would have been its best year to date, save for a process safety incident at Lavéra in France last December, during which five firefighters were exposed to higher than normal noise levels. “Because they were off work for more than three days it became a classified reportable injury,” said Stephen. Safety is – and has always been – INEOS’ top priority, and INEOS prides itself on being open and honest about what it does, how it does it and the impact it has on its staff and those that live and work close to its 51 manufacturing sites. “We have always tracked and reported more than we were required to do by law,” said Stephen, “and that engrained approach will not change under the OSHA system.” Although some in the company may be unaware of OSHA, plenty others will know about the way it operates. “OSHA won’t be totally new to many people because over the years INEOS has acquired businesses from companies where this system would have been operated before,” said Stephen. All staff that are required to make the determination of an OSHA injury were trained in September last year and Stephen is on hand (along with teams from its US businesses) if there are any cases of doubt. “For us, this does not change our view of the importance of safety across every aspect of our business. It is now just a different way to do things, but it is important that we make the transition smoothly and spend our time focused on keeping safe,” said Stephen.

    7 minutes read Issue 4
  • Jim’s a leader in his field

    INEOS chairman Jim Ratcliffe has won an award for his outstanding contribution to the world in which we live. video He was presented with the Petrochemical Heritage Award at the 2013 International Petrochemical Conference in San Antonio, Texas. Previous winners of this lifetime achievement award – long viewed as one of the most prestigious by the industry – have included some of its most prominent pioneers from all corners of the globe. Tom Tritton, president and CEO of The Chemical Heritage Foundation, said Jim had been this year’s overwhelming winner due to INEOS’ rapid growth and incredible success over the past 15 years. “Science-based industries need people like Jim,” he told INCH magazine after the ceremony. “He combines an understanding of basic science with an acute level of insight into how to translate science to practical application. “He also knows how to take well-timed risks that will turn ideas into reality.” It is the first time that a Briton has ever won the award in its 17-year history – a fact that did not go unnoticed by Jim. “I was a bit concerned that your standards were slipping,” he said with a smile. But the former chemical engineer, who graduated from Birmingham University in 1974, said INEOS’ success was not the work of just one man. “I am here because of what INEOS has achieved but it has not just been myself who has done that,” he said. “We are quite a tightly-knit group of people in INEOS so it has very much been a team effort to get us here.” INEOS, he said, worked in a different way to most similar-sized companies. “We are more like a federation of businesses,” he said. “We give our businesses a lot of autonomy. We give our management and chief executives a lot of autonomy and independence. “That’s why people in INEOS behave, I hope, more like owners than employees. And it hopefully generates that spirit of entrepreneurship, being nimble and making quick decisions.” He said INEOS was very focused on fixed costs, operating reliable machinery, profit and safety. “Everybody in our industry talks about safety but we have about 10 or 15 board meetings a month and the first item on every board agenda is safety,” he said. During his acceptance speech and subsequent Q&A, Jim also touched on INEOS’ proud history, the 2008-2009 recession and how INEOS managed its way out of that crisis and the shale gas boom which has transformed America’s manufacturing industry. He also spoke about why INEOS disliked bureaucracy – ‘it suffocates businesses’ – and why, he believed, the UK, once home to INEOS’ headquarters, was still in recession. “I am a firm believer that any economy must have a strong manufacturing base,” he said. “The main reason that the UK has not come out of this recession is because it has no, or very little, manufacturing.” He said it had been quite depressing to witness the virtual collapse of manufacturing in the UK where 15 years ago it had been on a par with Germany – at about 25%. Today only about 10% of the UK’s economy is manufacturing while Germany’s is still at 25%. That happened, he said, because the British Government, at that time, had been more interested in financial services than manufacturing. “They thought financial services was the future,” he said. Jim told guests that for manufacturing to be successful in any country, it needed to have unique selling points (USPs). “If you look at the UK today, there are not many USPs,” he said. “There are not many reasons why someone what want to manufacture in the UK, other than perhaps the English language. “Taxes are relatively high, the unions are difficult, pensions are expensive, there are logistics and energy costs are extremely expensive.” He said America – on the other hand – had ‘lots and lots of USPs’. “You have skilled labour, the unions are sensible, pensions are sensible, and you have this enormously strong new one, which is cheap energy and cheap feedstock,” he said. During the question and answer session, Jim was asked about shale gas – the cheap feedstock that has revived America’s manufacturing industry – and whether the US government should limit shale gas exports to protect the American economy. “I can understand it in certain areas perhaps it being restricted,” he told them. “But across the board I think that would be regarded by the world as creating a difficult precedent because America imports a lot of oil.” As the 17th recipient of the Petrochemical Heritage Award, Jim joins an elite group, including the former president of Cain Chemical and the founder of Texas Petrochemicals Company. “Jim’s career shows how an optimizer steadily grows,” said Tom Tritton. “He has taken INEOS through two major industry downturns to success after success. “He is also clearly a man who is in for the long haul. He has held the chairmanship at INEOS since 1998 and this year he finished, Paris, London and Geneva Marathons in under four hours. “To me, running a marathon is a wholly admirable accomplishment. It demonstrates dedication, persistence in the face of adversity, and a willingness to take on hard goals.” The Chemical Heritage Foundation and the Founders Club established the Petrochemical Heritage Award in 1997 to recognise inspiring individuals who had made an outstanding contribution to the petrochemical industry and promoted public understanding of the modern sciences, industries, and economies.  What’s in a name Ever wondered where the INEOS name comes from? It was a question asked of Jim Ratcliffe after he accepted his award in Texas. Two sons, two dictionaries and an acquisition deadline led to the company’s unique name when it was first established 15 years ago. On the Friday before Jim was to close the acquisition of the company his lawyers needed a name. By Monday. On Saturday morning, Ratcliffe bought two dictionaries, one Greek, one Latin and sat down with his two sons, then aged 10 and 12. The three then set to work on a name. And at a cost of $20, they came up with one word that holds a lot of meaning. The new company’s business was previously INspec Ethylene Oxide and Specialties, so the letters fell into place. From the dictionaries the three found ‘INEO’ which is Latin for a new beginning. ‘EOS’ is the Greek goddess of the dawn and ‘NEOS’ is new, novel and innovative. So the name was chosen – ‘INEOS’ - representing the dawn of something new and innovative. The company has been living up to its name ever since.

    26 minutes read Issue 4
  • Material Gain

    No-one really knows the impact shale gas could have in Europe but the Continent is sitting on significant reserves. These can be tapped by a process known as ‘fracking’. INEOS says it is an opportunity the EU cannot afford to turn down if it seriously wants to compete with America where access to shale gas has slashed its energy prices, and fuelled its industrial revival with jobs and production processes, once outsourced to China, now coming back to the US as a result. As Europe hesitates, America is already reaping the rewards of shale gas in terms of energy costs and security as well as competitive raw materials that underpin most of its manufacturing sector. And those rewards keep on coming. Chemical companies from around the world are now flocking to the Houston area to build new gas crackers, restart old ones or expand existing plants so they can take advantage of the vast amounts of domestic natural gas that contains the vital raw materials used by the petrochemical industry to make plastics and solvents. The American Chemical Council said it was one of the most exciting domestic energy developments of the past 50 years and was fuelling America’s industrial revival. After years of losing out to developing economies in Asia, a growing number of American companies are now moving their manufacturing back to the United States. The tide may be turning. PricewaterhouseCoopers is calling it The Homecoming. Across the Atlantic, though, in Europe, it’s a different story. They too have the breakthrough technology to unlock the natural gas trapped in shale rock, but so far it remains untapped. And no one knows for how long. France, having invested heavily in nuclear power, is facing opposition to shale gas exploration from the nuclear industry, and Germany, which has put its money into huge wind farms, faces the wrath of the renewable energy lobby. So the debate continues. INEOS has decided it cannot wait, and has struck a deal with the US to bring US raw materials to its European plants to maintain a competitive global Olefins & Polymers business. From 2015 INEOS Olefins & Polymers in Norway will begin taking shipments of US-derived ethane – an essential ingredient necessary to produce ethylene. “We are a global business supplying world markets so competitively-priced raw materials are essential if we are to maintain our business and jobs here in the future,” said Magnar Bakke, site manager INEOS Olefins & Polymers Norway. INEOS believes that having the capability to import up to 800,000 tons of ethane feedstock from the US every year complements our portfolio of feedstock agreements for its European gas crackers and will strengthen its competitive position as an ethylene producer in Europe for the foreseeable future. Negotiating the American contract has taken two years – from when the idea was first suggested to the signing of the contracts. INEOS will not benefit financially from it until 2015. But when the benefits come, they will be substantial. “We could start taking the ethane now but the systems and infrastructure are not yet set up to ship it out,” said David Thompson, Procurement Director INEOS O&P Europe. “They need to build an export terminal, for instance.” Not long ago, America depended on imports of liquefied natural gas. Now it is on the verge of becoming a major gas exporter. What has made it economically viable is horizontal drilling and major advances in hydraulic fracturing of shale rock. Upstream oil and gas companies have discovered how to squeeze oil and gas out of rock once thought too difficult and expensive to tap. In a nutshell, they have found a way of cracking open long, thin seams of shale and other rock by pumping water, sand and chemicals into the ground at high pressure to force the gas from the rock. “It’s the technology which is the key technical breakthrough,” said David. The problem for the US, though, now is that they have so much gas they don’t know what to do with it and, as a result, gas prices in the US have been tumbling, pulling down ethane feedstock prices too. One way of stabilising prices is to find new customers. And INEOS is one of them. “Right now the gas is used locally In America but a deal with us is a new way for the US to sell the ethane, which has been found in abundance in the typically ‘wet shale gas’,” said David. There are some in the US that want to keep US gas in the US. Dow Chemical, for one, fears that unchecked exports will increase domestic prices again and also threaten investment in the US manufacturing sector. “That debate is still ongoing,” said David. Shortly before Christmas, INEOS finalised its 15- year contracts with the three companies that will be responsible for the drilling, distributing, liquefying and shipping of ethane from America to INEOS’ Rafnes site in Norway. Ethane will be piped from the Marcellus shale reserves in the Appalachian Mountains to Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania. From there it will be shipped to Europe. The gas will then be stored on site in a new ethane tank, which will be built alongside INEOS’ existing stores of local ethane and LPG. The price of each will determine which feedstock INEOS uses – ethane or LPG – to produce ethylene, a chemical that is used in thousands of products we use every day. In short, it gives INEOS great flexibility. David said the supply deal with Range Resources Appalachia LLC also strengthened INEOS’ competitive position as an ethylene producer in Europe for the ‘foreseeable future’. And with EU decarbonisation policies likely to drive up energy prices in Europe, that has never been more important. In a report to the House of Lords EU sub-committee, INEOS has warned that rising energy costs threaten to undermine the ability of manufacturers in the EU to compete on the world stage. Particularly at risk, it said, were chemical industries that relied heavily on fossil fuels to run its plants. “We are acutely vulnerable to fluctuations in energy prices,” said Tom Crotty. INEOS Group Director. “We sell our products in fiercely competitive international markets and cannot pass on costs to our customers. “But we cannot afford to operate in jurisdictions with uncompetitive energy prices.” INEOS said if Europe were serious about decarbonisation, it had to shield energy-hungry industries from steep price rises while it moved towards creating affordable low-carbon energy sources. “If it doesn’t, production will be forced out of Europe to more competitive locations which will mean the loss of jobs, investment and tax revenue,” he said. Decarbonisation should not mean deindustrialisation, said Tom. “The aim must be to connect industry to green energy supplies, not push industry away,” he added. He said energy-intensive industries were not ‘sunset industries’ standing in the way of environmental improvements. “They are actually a vital source of raw materials and innovations required to make the green economy a reality,” he said. It is estimated that for every ton of CO2 used in the chemicals industry, more than two tonnes are saved by its products, which include catalysts, insulation, components for wind turbines, and solar cells. INEOS said Germany and France had both implemented policies that gave industry the confidence to invest and thrive. Germany, it said, provided significant energy tax rebates while France facilitated long-term energy contracts. “The UK currently risks being left behind,” said Andrew Mackenzie at INEOS ChlorVinyls. “UK electricity prices are high compared to other European countries, and our gas prices are much higher than countries outside Europe. “This international competitiveness gap is set to widen dramatically over the next decade due to government policies increasing energy prices.” He said shale gas, which is widely regarded as the most important bridge to future renewable energy because of its low carbon footprint, was a valuable new resource that would improve the UK’s energy security and mean more competitive prices in the UK. Test drilling for shale gas in the UK, which is believed to have an estimated 200 trillion cubic feet of onshore reserves in the North West alone, has now resumed in Lancashire after an initial scare in May 2011. And that’s good news for INEOS. “Our success in the UK depends on access to competitive energy and feedstock supplies,” he said. “Having access to more competitively priced feedstock and energy would transform the fortunes of the UK petrochemicals industry and help it to compete in a global market.” In America, gas – thanks to the shale gas bonanza – is now five times cheaper than the UK. “Similar gas prices in the UK would reduce the cost of chlorine production by £50 million a year at our Runcorn site, which currently uses as much electricity as the city of Liverpool,” said Andrew. Test drilling for shale gas in the UK was stopped by the Coalition Government after Cuadrilla Resources Ltd caused a minor tremor near Blackpool. A subsequent investigation by three eminent geologists reassured the government that fracking was safe. “It was just blown out of proportion by the media,” said Tom. “The ‘earthquake’ was lower than the tremors we get every day from shifts in old mine workings. “The geologists’ report said there was not a problem but the company needed take necessary steps to ensure it didn’t happen again.” INEOS is keen to do business with Cuadrilla. “They are planning to use it as fuel but how easily you can use it as fuel will depend upon what’s in it,” said Tom. Before natural gas can be sold commercially, the certain components of the mixture, called fractions, must be extracted. Those include hydrocarbons such as ethane, butane and propane, which are highly valued as raw materials by the chemical industry. “Cuadrilla don’t know the composition of the gas yet because they have not got it out of the ground, but if they need to take out those gases, that’s where we can step in and help,” said Tom. “We can take off those gases, if you like, and make chemicals with them to make valuable products that can be used and re-used,” he said. “As far as we are concerned, nothing should be wasted.” Waste is one of INEOS’ biggest bugbears. “Ethane is the most valuable chemical feedstock in the world because you can make things out of it but most of it gets burned because it doesn’t get extracted out of the gas stream,” he said.   INEOS currently owns two of the four gas crackers in Europe. One is in Norway; the other is in Grangemouth in Scotland. About 30 years ago the Grangemouth cracker was built to run on pure ethane which was coming from the North Sea oil rigs. Over the past 15 years, though, the quantity of ethane, which is a lighter gas, has gone down and has been replaced by heavier gases, which contain a lot more carbon. “The carbon clogs up the ethane cracker so you have to shut the whole thing down to get in and clean it which means it is very inefficient,” said Tom Crotty. INEOS recently spent millions on its cracker in Grangemouth so that it could cope with the wetter, heavier feedstock. As things stand, Grangemouth cannot take advantage of the ethane, which has been distilled from the cheap shale gas in America, without investing heavily in the site. Studies are being carried out to explore options at the site. “We would have to build a new jetty, reception facilities and storage tanks,” said Tom. “In Norway we already have much of that. And we will be investing in building more facilities so we can take more of it in the future.”

    14 minutes read Issue 4
  • The road to the future

    Some say that behind every successful man is a great woman. German car engineer Karl Benz, if he were alive today, might well agree with that. For it was his wife Bertha’s publicity stunt in 1888 that focused the world’s attention on his patented Motorwagen and earned the company its first sales. On August 5, without telling him, she borrowed his car and set off on an historic journey from Mannheim in Germany with their two oldest children. It was the first time anyone had attempted to drive a car over such a long distance. People thought cars were dangerous and unreliable. And no one wanted one. Bertha decided to prove otherwise. She wanted no one to be in any doubt. The car was the future. She set off before dawn and, shortly after dusk, arrived at her mother’s home in Pforzheim from where she sent Karl a telegram, informing him of the good news. The following day, she confounded the critics even more by driving home whereupon she presented her husband with a list of suggestions for all the mechanical things that had gone wrong during her trip. That 106km journey 124 years ago triggered a love affair with the car that continues to this day. Back then, it might have been convincing a sceptical public that it was a viable method of travel. Today it’s finding a way of keeping the growing millions of cars on the roads whilst reducing their impact on people and the planet. And it’s a full-time job. For technology is moving so fast that it’s hard to predict which direction the industry will eventually go. Will cars be run on hydrogen, biofuels, fuel cells, solar power, electricity, liquid nitrogen or natural gas? Will they be built from plastic, carbon fibre or aluminium? There is not going to be a single solution but the direction is the same. Cars of the future need materials and technologies that will make them lighter and safer, reducing fuel consumption and dramatically cut down on exhaust emissions. Conventional cars currently operate at about 15% efficiency so the potential for improvement with advanced technologies is enormous. Scratch the surface and you will find that INEOS is already at the heart of so many of the advances that are being made by manufacturers to make cars stronger, safer, lighter, sexier and more efficient while also satisfying those concerned about the environment. Plastics is a big one that is pulling its weight. So too is carbon fibre. But there are a host of other raw materials made by INEOS that are going into tyres, seat belts, brake fluid, anti-freeze, air filters and synthetic oils. INEOS’ Olefins & Polymers makes the high density polyethylene and polypropylene, which form the backbone of the entire plastics manufacturing industry. Car manufacturers especially like plastic because it can be moulded into virtually any shape but there’s more to plastic than just versatility. It’s also incredibly strong while being much lighter than steel, which as a result enables lighter, more fuel-efficient cars that do not compromise on safety. Today most fuel tanks in Europe and America and about 40% in Asia are believed to be made of plastic instead of steel because they are lighter, can be recycled and don’t corrode. And some of the world’s leading producers are using INEOS’ custom-engineered polymers to make them. The use of carbon fibre is another exciting area and INEOS’ Nitriles business, which is the world’s largest producer of key carbon fibre ingredient acrylonitrile, is at the heart of that too. Carbon fibre is 50% lighter than steel yet about five times stronger. The challenge is to find a way of making it more affordable so it can be mass produced. INEOS says, if that happens, the potential environmental benefit, given the number of cars on the roads around the world today, is enormous. Look closely at the electrics in most cars and you will find that all the wiring is coated in PVC largely because it is flame resistant – a factor which will become ever more important as the number of electrical components in cars increases. “PVC cabling doesn’t perish unlike rubber,” said Dr Jason Leadbitter, Sustainability & Compliance Manager at INEOS ChlorVinyls, Europe’s largest PVC manufacturer. His colleagues at INEOS Oligomers, meanwhile, are working closely with the manufacturers of synthetic oils and additive suppliers to deliver what their customers want. Advanced synthetic oils are helping to reduce wear and tear on engine components, whilst helping to improve the efficiency of modern engines for longer. “Today demand for better fuel economy has increased both end-user and car manufacturers’ interest in low viscosity engine lubricants,” said Michel Sánchez, PAO market development manager at INEOS Oligomers. “And that trend will continue with the introduction of new, tailor-made viscosity grades.” He said INEOS’ Group IV base oils – known as PAOs – performed above and beyond in maintaining engine durability, performance and reliability At INEOS Olefins & Polymers, the raw materials for butadiene are also produced to create synthetic rubber for tyres. The beauty about butadiene is that it performs equally well whatever the weather and can withstand a lot of wear and tear compared with other rubbers. There are currently more than 160 tyre manufacturers in the world who spend over £1,000 million every year in research and development to make cars more efficient, enhance handling and improve stopping distances. Treading that road too is INEOS Phenol. Its phenol goes into resins to make tyre tackifiers and nylon intermediates to make tyre cord and other engineered thermoplastics. But INEOS Phenol’s involvement doesn’t end there. Phenol and acetone are both needed to make polycarbonate, a magical, pliable material that is used extensively to make sun roofs, side windows, tail lights, headlamps and other car parts. The good thing about polycarbonate is that it can be moulded into a single piece, it is light and incredibly strong, which means better protection in the event of an accident. INEOS Phenol also makes acetone which is used in Perspex, in acrylics for the paints, along with resins for brake pads and air filters. Perhaps the biggest question of all, though, is how will cars of the future be powered? Every car company without exception is considering the alternatives to fossil fuels and how this shapes their product. It is an area that INEOS is also involved. It has built a plant in Florida that is designed to produce eight million gallons of advanced biofuels from waste every year for the cars of today and tomorrow. Meanwhile, their colleagues at INEOS ChlorVinyls have helped to create a ‘hydrogen highway’ across Norway by providing a clean form of hydrogen. The hydrogen, which is essential for fuel cells, is a by-product of INEOS’ chlor-alkali process at its Rafnes site. “It provides fuel from one of several hydrogen fuelling stations that are now forming a corridor from Stavanger to Oslo,” said Jason. No-one should ever doubt the importance of the chemical industry to the car industry. The International Council of Chemical Associations said recently that chemical products for vehicles were now saving 230 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions every year. In a report to the Rio +20 summit, it also highlighted how metallocene catalyst technology, licensed by INEOS Technologies, had been a major breakthrough in the manufacturing of plastics. “Metallocene polymers also enable modified plastics to be used more widely in automobile applications, replacing steel,” the ICCA said. Whatever happens, the car manufacturing industry will continue to look to companies like INEOS for answers. Thankfully INEOS has plenty. FUEL TANKS Plastic fuel tanks are replacing steel because they are lighter (lighter cars improve fuel economy), they can be recycled and don’t corrode. INEOS Olefins & Polymers manufactures the high density polymers for plastic fuel tanks. TYRES There are currently more than 160 tyre manufacturers in the world who spend over £1,000 million every year in research and development to make cars more efficient and improve stopping distances. INEOS Olefins & Polymers produces the materials used to make for tyres. These help to improve performance and reduce wear and tear. INEOS Phenol produces phenolic resins that are used to make tyre tackifiers and its alpha methyl styrene helps to produce better, fuel efficient tyres. INTERIORS Plastics are being used inside cars to improve aesthetics and safety. INEOS Olefins & Polymers manufactures the high density polyethylene and polypropylene that form the backbone of the entire plastics manufacturing industry. Phenol and Acetone from INEOS are both needed to make polycarbonate that is also being used to reshape car interiors and exteriors. INEOS Phenol’s phenol and acetone are both needed to make polycarbonate. FUEL The world is looking for an alternative to traditional fossil fuels. INEOS Bio’s technology produces advanced biofuels (from waste not crops) to be blended with petrol. The technology also produces renewable power that could be used to charge batteries. SYNTHETIC OILS Demand for better fuel economy and better performing engines has led to an increase in the interest in low viscosity engine oils. INEOS Oligomers provides the manufacturers of synthetic oils and additive suppliers with the high performance base oils that help to improve a car’s overall efficiency. BODY PARTS Carbon fibre is 50% lighter than steel but about five times stronger. More of this product is being used in cars to reduce weight without compromising safety. INEOS Nitriles is the world’s largest producer of acrylonitrile which is the essential ingredient in carbon fibre. Without it, carbon fibre would not exist. ELECTRICS PVC is used to coat the wiring of electrical components in cars because it is flame resistant and, unlike rubber, doesn’t perish. INEOS ChlorVinyls is Europe’s largest PVC manufacturer.

    14 minutes read Issue 4
  • Good Chemistry

    The world faces a constant and growing challenge. How does it meet the demands of a rapidly rising population – last count seven billion – with finite resources, in a way that does not threaten the planet? One sector that has an answer and is doing more than the public realises to meet that challenge is the global chemical industry. Around the world, the chemical industry is working hard to find solutions to many of the issues that a rising population presents society. That work – since the first historic Earth Summit in Rio de Janiero in 1992 – has helped to ensure that farmers adopt sustainable agricultural methods and that more and more people can access cleaner, safer drinking water. It has further led to medical breakthroughs, transformed the way energy is used and is helping to reduce greenhouse gases. And the work goes on. Last year, the chemical industry, which directly employs more than seven million people worldwide, took stock of what it had achieved over the past 20 years since that first United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, and looked forward at how it could collectively begin to address the challenges that have emerged since. During the Rio + 20 conference, which was attended by representatives from 196 nations, Steve Elliott, chief executive of the UK’s Chemical Industries Association, said that the chemical industry had been at the forefront of the emerging green economy. “Without chemical businesses, green technology and the green economy simply cannot happen,” he said. Mr Elliott said he hoped Rio +20 would show the world how the industry and its stakeholders had worked together to enable people, the planet and companies to thrive. Some of that progress has been highlighted in a report published by the International Council of Chemical Associations, the worldwide voice of the chemical industry. ICCA president Andrew Liveris said during a panel discussion that progress had been the result of innovative ideas, technologies and processes, all made possible only through chemistry. “Around the world, the chemical industry is enabling the very solutions we need to meet the global challenges,” he said. In its report, the ICCA said building a green economy would depend on innovative solutions from all sectors – a view shared by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. “In these times of austerity and economic uncertainty, public sector efforts alone will not be sufficient,” he said. “We need everyone at the table – investors, CEOs, governments, civil society groups, technical experts and practitioners – working in a common cause.” Carlos Fadigas, chief executive of Brazilian chemical company Braskem, also took part in the ICCA panel discussion at the summit. He said that the efficient use of resources was crucial. “We must focus on sustainable consumption as well as sustainable production, with a commitment to producing goods and services efficiently and consuming them differently,” he said. “To achieve that, it is crucial that each company puts sustainability as a core driver of its business strategy. More and more chemical companies are doing that.” The ICCA said it hoped Rio +20 would spur governments into creating the right environment that would allow chemical companies to act swiftly to find even more innovative solutions to the world’s changing needs. “Innovative, efficient solutions are required to achieve sustainable development,” it said. “And contributions of the global chemical industry will play an essential role in the transition to a green economy envisioned by Rio +20.” The ICCA also continues to encourage developing economies to responsibly use and handle 2,000 plus chemicals currently on the market, through its training workshops, which have so far been conducted – in such places as the Middle East, Africa and Asia – by leading chemical companies that are keen to share best practices. “Promoting safe management and use of essential products of chemistry is a shared responsibility of manufacturers, government and all those who sell or use chemical products,” it said. Rio+20 followed the publication of The European Chemical Industry Council’s first-ever sustainability report designed to raise public awareness of the benefits that the industry brings to society. Cefic is the European Chemical Industry Council. This Brussels-based organisation said its own surveys and external research had shown that public opinion of the chemical industry differed from one country to the next. The report, which highlighted examples of innovative products and initiatives, and groundbreaking advances, aimed to improve the public’s generally negative perception of the chemical industry. “The chemical industry is, perhaps, better placed than any other sector to tackle the challenges of sustainability,” he said. “After all there’s virtually no product, no service or human activity that does not in some way rely on the contribution of chemistry.” In its report, Cefic stressed the importance of open communication. “Partnerships and collaboration within industry are essential,” said Mr Giorgoi Squinzi President of Cefic. “But so too are partnerships with authorities, those in the supply chain, and academic and research institutions.”

    7 minutes read Issue 4
  • An independent view

    Professor Peter Styles was one of three experts commissioned by the UK Government in 2011 to write an independent report after fracking caused two tremors in the North of England. Here he explains why Britain’s long-term future depends on the vast reserves of shale gas buried deep beneath the ground. Britain’s salvation could come from shale gas that has been buried in rocks for 300 million years. Professor Peter Styles believes that the UK’s vast reserves must be tapped if Britain is to secure its long-term energy needs. “This is really important,” he said. “I don’t think people realize how extremely vulnerable we are in the UK. “At the moment 70% of UK domestic heating and cooking is gas and we import half of it. “Some of it comes from Norway, which is probably all right, but a lot of it comes from Siberia which has not been the most secure form of supply over the years.” In January 2009, a dispute between Ukraine and Russia over natural gas prices led to deliveries to a number of European countries being cut off entirely. “We were down to two days’ supply,” he said. “And when that happens, companies like INEOS ChlorVinyls in Runcorn, which is the third biggest user of gas in Britain, get switched off to protect the domestic supplies.” But he said on a normal day, Britain only had the capacity to store 12 days worth of gas. “France has 120 days and Germany has 150,” he said. “But we have 12.” And the situation is set to worsen. By 2015 Britain will have closed six coal-fired power stations due to European regulations. “That will take out about eight to nine Gigawatts of generated electricity out of the system,” he said. “We are talking about one day a week of power lost. We are effectively saying that we will need to do without the amount of electricity and power we would use in one day. How we are going to replace that? Not with wind turbines, I’m afraid, because people are reluctant to have them in their back-yards either.” Professor Styles said the British public needed to understand the consequences of their actions if they rejected shale gas exploration in the UK, the development of wind farms or refused to allow companies to build facilities to store gas in the UK, a situation that happened in Byley, Cheshire, England, in 2001. “Their attitude is often: ‘I don’t know anything about it at all but I know that I don’t want it’” he said. “That’s fine. If people say they don’t want it, I can live with that. But if we make that decision, we have to live with the consequences and that might mean living with less power.” On January 30, the British nuclear power industry suffered a setback when plans to look for a site for a £12billion underground nuclear waste store in Cumbria were rejected by Cumbria County Council. “I am not sure that Cumbria County Council realise that they have effectively voted that they will have to live with surface storage of the bulk of the UK’s Radwaste at Sellafield, including more than 100 tons of Plutonium, for probably an extra 10 years (or even more) now,” he said. “That decision will not help nuclear power. It will stop new nuclear build in the UK because you have to do something with the waste. Yet it is with gas in the medium the only one that can provide us with long-term, clean, in term of CO2, baseload energy. “It sometimes surprises people when I tell them that Radioactive Ores are found in rocks anyway, that’s where they originate, and that despite their natural radioactivity, it is not trivial to detect them so returning them to the ground for deep geological storage is not as unexpected as they might suppose. “At the moment all that waste is sitting on the surface at Sellafield, in storage conditions that were designed 50 years ago.” The other storm that is brewing – and taking up protesters’ energy – is the search for shale gas and the controversial technique, known as fracking, which involves pumping water, sand and chemicals into rock at high pressure to extract the gas. “Shale is so tightly packed that that’s why the gas is still there after 300 million years,” he said. “But in the Bowland Basin in Lancashire, we have half a mile of this shale. That is four times the thickness of what they have in the US, where it has become almost the complete source of gas for them.” Protesters believe fracking poses ‘huge risks to the environment’. But Professor Styles, who was one of three experts commissioned by the British Government in 2011 to write an independent review after the technique was blamed for causing two tremors in Blackpool, says it is safe, if carefully controlled. “In Stoke-on-Trent in the UK we regularly get bigger earthquakes caused by old mine workings flooding,” he said. “That is not to say that felt earthquakes are not a disturbance but properly monitored fracking need not generate felt earthquakes at all.” He said protesters’ fears about water pollution were also unfounded. “We have the best regulated industry,” he said. “If INEOS ChlorVinyls in Runcorn tip a single can of coke down their waste, they exceed their discharge rate. “That is how regulated we are in the UK.” He said one of the chemicals, which would be mixed with the sand and water, was a detergent similar to washing up liquid. “Someone washing their car doesn’t think twice about pouring that down the drain,” he said. “And paint brush cleaner is awful stuff but again people will be tipping that into their drains,” he said. “Do they think their drains don’t leak?” Companies drilling for shale gas have been told that fracking must not be carried out within 2,000ft of a watercourse. “The fracking is actually taking place at 3km down,” said Professor Styles. “Which is most likely to cause contamination?” He added: “If people want to object, it should not be on spurious, scientific grounds.” Britain is believed to be sitting on vast reserves of shale gas. How much of it will be accessible is still open to debate. “The UK is more densely populated than America so that doesn’t help,” he said. “I can tell you whether it is technically feasible and the developers, to get it out, will have to decide if it is economically possible. And if it’s not, they won’t do it. “But the hardest issue with almost all of these major issues, such as Radwaste, Carbon Sequestration and most recently shale gas, is persuading people to let you and that can be government, local authorities and local pressure groups.” And therein lies the problem. “In the olden days, you got your heat and power from your surroundings,” said Professor Styles. “You went out and cut peat or chopped down trees. “The invention of the National Grid was a wonderful thing but it distanced everybody from the source of production. It distanced people from the realities of what actually went on. “Everyone wants energy but they don’t want to live next to it, apart from a roaring log fire.” Professor Styles said he was disappointed with those who were quite happy to accept gas from countries which were unregulated. “Leaking pipelines bringing the gas from Siberia have a higher carbon footprint than burning it in the UK,” he said. “If people are making a point that shale gas will leak more than conventional gas, they need to be aware of that. We might as well take that same volume of CO2 and pump it straight into the air. “We want our gas but they have our problems. Global change doesn’t know about boundaries. It won’t stop the climate warming here. “Not only that, but it’s not ethical to believe that it is okay for others to bear the brunt of environmental problems which are due to our energy demands.” He said shale gas was better for the environment than coal in terms of the amount of harmful greenhouse gases it produces. “It is half as bad as coal,” he said. Scores of companies have already been granted Petroleum Exploration and Development Licenses by the British Government to search, drill for and get petroleum and conventional, and what is mistakenly known as unconventional, gas such as coal-bed methane and shale gas. “These companies are contractually obliged to drill some exploration wells as part of those licenses,” he said.

    10 minutes read Issue 4
  • The climate is changing

    On the face of it, you would not expect one of the world’s leading environmentalists and the world’s third largest chemical company to share much common ground. But the climate has changed, as the former adviser to the UK Government Jonathon Porritt has discovered. Environmentalist Jonathon Porritt believes privately-owned companies, like INEOS, are now best placed to change the world for the better. He said they had the will, the desire, the know-how and a convincing business case to help combat climate change and other pressing sustainability issues. “The real leadership to create a sustainable world is coming from the private companies,” he said. “It is not coming from governments. At the moment governments are paralysed by their own mediocrity.” But he said governments could help by de-risking the flow of investments so that the capital markets could clearly understand what a sustainable world would really look like. That meant consistent policy-making, and using incentives to help frame capital markets for the long term. “Governments don’t just have a mandate to make things happen,” he said. “They are also there to stop bad things happening. “INEOS has shown a readiness to deploy its intellectual innovations. A pipeline of solutions to the sustainability dilemmas that we face today. INEOS is one of those companies in a position to respond to these opportunities.” Jonathon spoke to INCH magazine after drafting a report for the British Government on the future of industrial bio-technology. In it, he highlights INEOS’ ground-breaking achievements in Vero Beach, Florida, home to the first commercial scale plant of its kind in the world that is capable of turning a range of waste into advanced biofuel and renewable power. His report – published on January 22 – is aimed primarily at industry to encourage it to think differently, rather than government ministers. But that said, Jonathon agrees Government must still play a part. “I am not recommending more regulations, but they can make a big difference,” he said, “especially on major issues like climate change.” Jonathon said that INEOS, like all big chemical companies, was still ‘addicted to oil’, but that it had a good track record in many areas. He was referring to INEOS’s involvement in The Natural Step, a global sustainability initiative, originally launched in Sweden, to provide a rigorous scientific framework for the changes that need to be made in our economy. INEOS and Norsk Hydro were approached as two of the of the world’s largest producers of PVC. “That involvement was critical,” said Jonathon. At the recent European plastics summit in Germany, Jonathon praised INEOS – and the plastics industry as a whole – for what they were now doing to help create a more sustainable future. “Those endeavours give a lie to the image many people still have in the European Union of plastics as an on-going environmental horror story of unparalleled proportions,” he said during his speech to the PolyTalk summit in Wiesbaden. He said the extraordinary wealth of new ideas coming from all the industries that relied on plastics – cars, electronics, health, farming, packaging, energy, lighting and construction – also gave him hope of a better, brighter future. His comments were warmly welcomed by Dr Jason Leadbitter, Sustainability and Compliance Manager for INEOS ChlorVinyls. “PVC is often singled out among the other plastics, and not always for the best of reasons so it was extremely encouraging and heartening to receive such praise,” he said after the summit. During his talk, Jonathon explained that the difficulty facing the plastics industry would be convincing those outside the industry. There was a serious credibility problem because of the way the industry had often behaved in the past. But he said he also understood the frustration at environmentalists who were completely preoccupied with the past, rather than the future. However, he said the plastics industry needed NGOs (non-governmental organisations) because they had earned the trust of society, which allowed them to act as intermediaries in complex, controversial debates. “Deep down, if we don’t work more effectively together, the prospects for the industry are much less good than they might be,” he told the summit. But Jonathon was not without criticism of the role of the NGO. He said he often felt deeply frustrated at the way NGOs sometimes abused that trust, especially in the UK where he blamed some NGOs for whipping up people’s NIMBY (‘Not in my back yard’) tendencies, particularly regarding new waste management technologies. “If they deployed a fraction of this energy to direct people’s attention towards a much more integrated, sophisticated approach to managing waste in our society, we’d be in a very different place,” he said. As chairman of The Natural Step in the UK, he said he had experienced some of these difficulties when working with INEOS and Norsk Hydro on an initiative to define exactly what a ‘truly sustainable PVC industry’ would really look like. “Some NGOs thought it was inappropriate to be even having this discussion,” he told the PolyTalk summit. “They felt it was impossible to articulate a genuinely sustainable vision for the future of PVC. They saw it as a ‘contradiction in terms’, and eventually walked out of the dialogue.” Yet that Natural Step initiative led eventually to the development of Vinyl 2010, a voluntary 10-year commitment to look at what the plastics industry could do about PVC not just in the UK, but across Europe. “The good thing about Vinyl 2010 was that it was indeed voluntary, but that it also had teeth,” said Jonathon. “A huge number of initiatives don’t have any teeth so it’s easy for companies to sign up to them because there are no consequences while they just sit around and do nothing.” Since then, the plastics industry has gone even further and signed up to VinylPlus, which has set even more ambitious targets for sustainable development. During his interview with INCH, Jonathon said that the legacy of ill-feeling and antagonism between business and NGOs was partly an historical problem. “In the past, industry and NGOs always seemed to be at loggerheads, with one confrontation after another,” he said. “Today most NGOs are happy to work with businesses if they feel the business understands what they are trying to achieve.” He told INCH magazine that even as recently as 10 years ago, companies had struggled to understand the concept of sustainability. In the 1990s, ‘greenwashing’ was also prevalent with many top-end companies making spurious claims to please their customers by appearing environmentally-friendly. “There were some companies who flirted outrageously with sustainability but it was never consummated,” he said. “This was a serious matter because it led to intense scepticism, and people then thought they were being conned on green issues.” That had now changed, he said, and there were three good reasons why companies were now becoming more sustainable, and realising it made good financial business sense to ensure their companies had the resources to compete more sustainably in the global markets. He said the three key drivers for more sustainable wealth creation were government regulation, consumer expectation and industry innovation. He went on to say how impressed he was at how many businesses were now waking up to the difficult challenges ahead, and facing up to their responsibilities. “Politicians are there to win short-term votes, but businesses are in it for the long-term,” he said. However, he did express some regret that, although consumers talked a lot about sustainability, they did not always shop with their consciences. “That can be very frustrating,” he said. “But more sustainable companies can still hope that their consumers will eventually reward them in the right way. “However, sustainable products should not be more expensive because that just won’t work.”

    12 minutes read Issue 4
  • Debate: Is Climate change a disaster waiting to happen or a technological challenge that can be overcome?

    Scientists are warning that record-breaking ice melt in the Arctic is part of a worrying trend – and the clearest sign yet that society needs to act to tackle climate change. But is climate change a catastrophe waiting to happen or a technological challenge to be overcome? What are some of the world’s leading lights saying? Yes: Climate change is everyone’s business. For the case of global warming, we should take action, but most of the action that people are suggesting will not address the problem, and so we have to get the energy policy right. It has to be based in science and engineering and technology. There are two things that are really important. One is there’s an enormous amount that can be done with energy efficiency and conservation: better automobiles, better insulation in homes. The second thing that we need to do, and this is equally important, is to recognize that natural gas emits one-third the carbon dioxide of coal.Richard Muller, senior scientist at US Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory While climate change poses significant global challenges, it also provides strong incentives for research and development and creative problem-solving to help cities and communities anticipate and adapt to its impact. Countries that are more successful in these endeavours will be better positioned to address their own national challenges, provide green technologies and solutions to other countries, and thrive in a changing world. Singapore is actively investing in this area and positioning itself as a test-bed for new technologies and business models that can provide green solutions to the world.The National Climate Change Secretariat, Singapore It’s a catastrophe happening. We’ve already broken one of the largest physical features on the planet (the Arctic, which has melted with horrifying speed) and badly damaged another (the oceans, which are 30% more acidic than 40 years ago). he technological challenges of dealing with it (converting quickly to renewables) are small compared to the political problem of dealing with the fossil fuel industry, which so far has blocked change at every turn.Bill McKibben, American environmental activist Some changes to our climate are inevitable given the historic build-up of emissions in the atmosphere, but fortunately, many technological solutions exist for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. While these technologies come with a price, it is far outweighed by the cost of inaction. Financing these technologies, however, remains a challenge. New sources of finance, such as the carbon markets, are required to mobilise the necessary investment and financial flows to address climate change.The Carbon Neutral Company, London No: Based on the evidence currently available, it is premature to consider geo-engineering as a viable option for addressing climate change. The priority is, and must be, to tackle the root cause by reducing emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities and adapting to those impacts that are unavoidable. Mitigation of climate change, by reducing emissions and protecting natural carbon sinks, remains the surest way of increasing our chances of avoiding dangerous climate change in the future. Some, including scientists, have suggested that in the future geo-engineering may have a role to play in supplementing our efforts to mitigate climate change. However, for most techniques, current understanding of the costs, feasibility, environmental and societal impacts is limited.The Department of Energy & Climate Change (British Government) Alarmist messages concerning climatic change are generally counterproductive and raise more skepticism than a desire to act. However, the impacts of a changing climate will have significant repercussions on environmental (water availability, ecosystems) and socio-economic (agriculture, health, energy) sectors, with sharply contrasting regional differences and implications for the poorer segments of our societies. Technological and economic measures are thus required to implement adaptation strategies that will alleviate the more negative impacts of a warming climate to which we are currently committed.Professor Martin Beniston, Director, Institute for Environmental Sciences, University of Geneva, Switzerland We do not know what negative and positive effects climate change will have around the world in the next 100 years. Many climate scientists have exaggerated the potential risks due to global warming. While magnifying the possible hazards as a result of warmer temperatures, many ignore the possible economic and health benefits of moderate warming. There is no reason to believe that developed societies won’t be able to cope with any climate changes nature may throw at us. While past societies were extremely vulnerable to climatic stress factors, hightechnology cultures are much more sheltered from likely temperature changes as a result of technological adaptation and societal mitigation.Dr Benny Peiser, Director, The Global Warming Policy Foundation, London Short political cycles discourage long-term thinking, particularly where upfront costs may be high. But tackling climate change can help accelerate economic and energy transformations, drive revolutions in technology, and spur creation of new production models. It can drive the creation of new goods, services, jobs, and exports. This, though, requires engaged citizens and bold, far-sighted leaders.Helen Clark, chairman of the United Nations Development Group

    7 minutes read Issue 4
  • Tricoya harvests INEOS’ expertise

    The trade in tropical hardwoods, such as mahogany and teak, has long been seen as a major reason for the destruction of the rainforests. Some of that demand could soon change thanks to INEOS’ teaming up with a small, innovative Anglo-Dutch company.  INEOS has formed a partnership with an Anglo-Dutch company whose innovative technology could help to prevent the need to use hardwood taken from the world’s rainforests. It has signed a deal with Accsys Technologies Plc, a small AIM-listed quoted company, which has developed a ground-breaking technique to turn soft wood, harvested from fast-growing, sustainable forests, into a resilient long-lasting wood, with properties at least as good as those of tropical hardwoods. “I think the world as a whole recognises that these forests cannot be chopped down anymore, and our unique technology will contribute to reversing the need for tropical wood from rainforests,” said Paul Clegg, chief executive officer of Accsys. “We want to have licensed operators using our technology all over the world. It may take a while. It may be a lofty ambition but we think it is very possible.” INEOS’ role in the new company, Tricoya Technologies Ltd, will be to use its vast experience, excellent global connections and expertise in licensing technologies to sell the Tricoya acetylation technology to the world. “Without INEOS, we would have got there in the end but it would have taken longer”, said Paul. “A lot of people have great ideas but what counts is the successful implementation of an idea. “INEOS’ involvement will make the difference and increases the likelihood of its successful execution. “It will accelerate the roll-out of Tricoya, and INEOS also has contacts in markets, such as China, India and Russia, which we don’t.” Negotiations between the two companies to exploit a market, worth about €60 billion a year, began about 18 months ago. INEOS was excited by what Tricoya could offer the world and how its patented technology could revolutionise the wood-panel market. Accsys needed a partner with a global reputation for excellence. “It can be a very long process to convince markets that you have the better product and have the breakthrough technology,” said Pierre Lasson, general manager at Tricoya. “INEOS will be able to speed up that process by bringing its expertise to support this innovative technology.” What INEOS offers is effectively ‘third party validation’, which money cannot buy. “People are more inclined to believe those who have bought a product or use it, rather than a company itself,” said Paul. Together the two companies will combine their strengths to develop the manufacture and sale of Tricoya’s engineered wood products.  What is special about the Tricoya technology is that it opens up new horizons for products, such as MDF, which itself revolutionised the industry in the eighties. For although MDF was hailed as the ultimate in versatility and reliability when it was first commercialised in 1980, its weakness was that it absorbs water like a sponge, rendering it useless outdoors or in wet, ‘hostile’ environments.  “If you put it in a bucket of water, it turns to mush,” said Paul. Tricoya retains all the positive things about MDF but it does not retain water, which means it does not warp, swell or rot. Instead the process improves the wood’s durability and stability, turning it from a soft wood panel into a wood panel with class 1 durability properties and with a 50-year guarantee for external use above ground. “What is especially unique about Tricoya is its resistance to water which means it can go where no other soft wood has ever gone before, into new markets where traditionally other products – such as PVC and aluminium – have been favoured,” said Paul. That is likely to please, and benefit, the construction industry – often rewarded for using sustainable materials – and wood panel manufacturers whose margins are low because their products are so cheap. “We can help them to create higher value products, which will give them a better return,” said Paul.  The other beauty about Tricoya is that it consumes carbon dioxide. When the tree is harvested, the carbon is captured and because it doesn’t rot, it holds the carbon. “Even when our product does reach the end of its shelf life, it can be burned for energy,” said Paul. The release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere is currently giving Canada a thumping headache. Huge swaths of its forests have been hit by an outbreak of mountain pine beetle, which are killing millions of trees. Researchers believe that by 2020, the pine beetle outbreak will have led to the release of 270 megatonnes of carbon dioxide.  On March 5th Tricoya was named Product of the Year by Sustain Magazine. video “Obviously the award does bring kudos,” said Paul. “But kudos doesn’t put food on the table. “What it does do, though, is validate our process and products because it says that someone else agrees with what we are saying.” It is the Joint Venture with INEOS, though, that has given Accsys the biggest cheer. “Tricoya is our baby but what appealed to us about INEOS was that it has all the attributes of a larger company, but unusually it is a privately-owned company,” said Paul. “It is fast acting and has a real interest in fostering sustainable ideas. And that is an unusual mix.” Paul said trust and confidence had also played a significant – and important – part in Accsys’ decision to ‘share the spoils’ with INEOS. Peter Williams, chief executive officer of INEOS Technologies, said he was looking forward to the joint venture accelerating the commercialisation of the new process around the world. “Tricoya offers the building industry valuable new options for the application of high performance, cost-competitive and more sustainable wood-based materials,” he said.  “Our skills complement those of our partner, and together we will realise important synergies for the new company.”

    7 minutes read Issue 4
  • INEOS adds up benefits of smart refinancing deal

    INEOS has once again shown its ability to move quickly to make the most of an opportunity. Its latest decision to take advantage of favourable loan markets has just saved the company $140 million a year in interest payments. Finance director John Reece said the perfectly-timed deal would now mean significantly lower annual interest costs, which helps retain more money in the company to develop the business. In a note to all staff, chairman Jim Ratcliffe described the latest refinancing deal as a ’very successful outcome’. “The financial markets have become increasingly favourable during the course of this year,” he said. INEOS is now paying 4% interest on its $3 billion term loan instead of 6.5%. “That is the largest interest rate fall of any loan refinancing by a company this year,” said Jim. In addition INEOS raised $2.4 billion of new debt, in a mixture of loans and bonds, and paid down $2.4 billion of older more expensive debt. Credit analysts believe that INEOS is taking advantage of the loan markets to keep costs as low as possible so that it can weather the storm of any potential downturn. Whatever happens, it was another shrewd move by INEOS, which last year made history in the financial world when it achieved the largest-ever covenant-lite loan for a European company and the largest globally since the credit crunch began in 2008. That move in April 2012 was described as a ‘staggering achievement’ by financial analysts. “You really have to take advantage of the credit markets when they are there because they are very cyclical,” John told INCH magazine last year. Malcolm Stewart, a partner at Ondra Partners, a long-standing adviser to INEOS, said the timing had been perfect. “They nailed it,” he said. Standard & Poor’s raised its rating on the company to B+ from B, noting a “resilient” 2012 performance in North America that “largely offset” difficult European results.

    2 minutes read Issue 4
  • INEOS Marathon raises €100,000

    INEOS raised €100,000 for a UK children’s charity in April through sheer mental and physical determination. The 43 runners representing INEOS were among the 34,631who lined up at the start of the London Marathon, now viewed as one of the most iconic sporting events in the world. But more impressive still is that everyone from INEOS crossed the finish line – and, in the process, managed to raise 100,000 Euros for the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) and get a mention for the company on national television. Chris Woods, from O&P Europe, completed the course in three hours, 14 minutes and 41 seconds. For many at INEOS, it had been their first marathon. For others, though, including Chris, the 26.2-mile race had been just a warm-up exercise. Five weeks later, Chris, Jim Ratcliffe, Leen Heemskerk, Oliver Hayward-Young and Alessia Maresca then went on to complete the ultimate human endurance race, the 56-mile Comrades Marathon in Durban, South Africa.

    1 minute read Issue 4
  • INEOS to join forces with Solvay to create a world-class PVC producer

    INEOS signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) to combine its European chlorvinyls activities in a proposed 50-50 joint venture on May 7th. The combination of the two businesses would form a polyvinyl chloride (PVC) producer ranking among the top three worldwide. It would build on the strengths of both our companies’ industrial assets, the skills to enhance competitiveness. “This agreement will result in the creation of a truly competitive and sustainable business that will provide significant benefit to customers such as reliable access to PVC,” said Jim Ratcliffe, “The newly combined business, which will be of world scale, will be able to better respond to rapidly changing European markets and to match increasing competition from global producers.” The agreement provides the mechanism under which INEOS would acquire Solvay’s 50% interest in the joint venture between four and six years from its formation, after which INEOS would be the sole owner of the business.

    1 minute read Issue 4
  • INEOS Nitriles and Tianjin Bohai Chemical Industry Group Corporation to form Joint Venture

    On 22nd May, INEOS Nitriles and Tianjin Bohai Chemical Industry Group Corporation signed a non binding Heads of Terms. The agreement set out their intention to form a 50/50 Joint Venture, to build and operate a 260,000 tonne Acrylonitrile plant located in Tianjin, China. It is expected that the plant, which will be designed using the latest INEOS process and catalyst technology, will be completed by the end of 2016. Rob Nevin, CEO of INEOS Nitriles said, “This is an important investment for the Nitriles business in Asia to support our customers’ growing needs across the region. We are very pleased to be building this new facility with Tianjin Bohai Chemical through the formation of the Joint Venture. Our partnership is set to bring considerable value to both companies and their customers. Bringing together our proprietary Acrylonitrile technology, with Tianjin Bohai Chemical’s expertise and advantaged feedstocks, presents a formidable combination.” This is the second Joint Venture project INEOS has announced in China this year. In March INEOS Phenol initialled a joint venture agreement with Sinopec YPC. Both Joint Ventures bring together our world leading technology with a strong Chinese partner. They will add up to a total investment across all partners of more than $1 billion.

    1 minute read Issue 4
  • INEOS Barex AG is to buy the Polyacrylonitriles Business from Mitsui Chemicals Inc

    INEOS Barex AG has signed a binding agreement to acquire the Polyacrylonitriles (PAN) Business from Mitsui Chemicals Inc. The agreement brings together complementary capabilities of both businesses and secures the long term supply of PAN resin and Zexlon™ film to customers across Asia. CEO David Schmidt says: “The transfer of this business into INEOS Barex AG provides a very close strategic fit. The agreement is good news for all parties involved. Most importantly it will provide significant benefit to customers through ongoing, reliable access to Barex®, PAN resin and Zexlon™ film”. INEOS Barex AG continues to invest in its Barex® business to enhance product quality and expand available capacity to meet the growing needs of new markets in pharmaceutical, medical, cosmetic, and personal care packaging. Barex® is a specialised acrylonitrile-methyl acrylate copolymer that has both US Pharmacopoeia and FDA clearances for medical and pharmaceutical packaging. The chemistry behind Barex® makes it readily convertible into film, sheet and bottles on standard equipment using extrusion, injection and calendaring techniques.

    1 minute read Issue 4
  • INEOS strikes gold at Seal Sands

    Apprentices sometimes left floundering in unfamiliar roles are now being turned into world-class performers. And they have INEOS to thank for that. INEOS Nitriles discovered the haphazard approach to training when they acquired the Seal Sands site on Teeside in the UK in 2008. They found that the training of new starters and apprentices was ad-hoc and disjointed and that limited refresher training was available for existing production technicians. All the training was also carried out by members of staff in addition to their main jobs. INEOS knew that to get the best out of the site, it first needed to get the best out of the staff and that meant creating a dedicated team of trainers whose sole job would be to improve the skills of its chemical workforce. The company brought together four experienced process co-ordinators with in depth knowledge of their individual plant areas. Initially they focused on assessing, retraining and re-certifying all the existing production technicians to ensure everyone had a basic understanding and ability. It was time-consuming but it provided the four trainers with a clear idea of future training needs. From the HR database, they also discovered that 70% of the existing production technicians were due to reach state retirement age within the next 10 years. Since that initial assessment they have introduced a new refresher programme – which is delivered on and off shift – to maintain skill levels, transfer INEOS knowledge from other INEOS Nitriles’ sites and integrate any changes to the plant or processes. They have also developed 32 basic initial training sessions which all new starters attend before they move on to their specific plant training. To ensure that the training is up-to date and relevant, a quality control system has been set up with the support of site specialists. INEOS was so proud of the group’s achievement – and plans – that the Middlesbrough site commissioned The National Skills Academy Process Industries to audit its training process. The result? INEOS Nitriles’ training programme at the site has now been awarded the Cogent Gold Standard, which sets the skills benchmark for world class performance. “We are obviously delighted that our commitment and hard work has been recognised,” said Dave Hart, training and development manager at Seal Sands. “The fact that we can now use the Gold Standard logo on our correspondence and the INEOS logo is on the Cogent/ NSAPI Roll of Honour is a reflection of the great commitment to on-site training which INEOS have shown since taking over the Seal Sands site.” But the hard work doesn’t end here. Dave said they were now keen to move on to the next stage. “We plan to have our internal site training verified as a recognised qualification by an external awarding body,” he said.

    2 minutes read Issue 4
  • Going the extra mile to attract very best graduates

    Companies know they need to go the extra mile in today’s fiercely competitive world if they want to attract the very best students. At the INEOS sites in Belgium, they physically go the extra mile. Every year a few company engineers and HR staff from INEOS and a select group of other companies board a special train that stops at all the main university cities in the north of Belgium. At each stop, engineering students, who are in their final year, are encouraged to board the train to meet and chat to potential employers about opportunities. The job train – as it is known – is laid on by ie-net, a network of alumni from all the major engineering faculties in Belgium. Lunch is laid on for all the company representatives and students so that there is plenty of time for networking. The train has now been running for three years. And for INEOS, it has been worth catching, particularly to enhance students’ awareness of INEOS as a key employer in the Belgian chemical job market. “Over the past two years more than 300 engineering graduates have been introduced to INEOS this way, and that has led to good candidates joining INEOS,” said personnel and communications officer Katrien Poppe.

    1 minute read Issue 4
  • INEOS JV set to build the largest Phenol plant in China

    INEOS has embarked upon a joint venture with a leading Chinese petrochemical company to design, build and operate the largest-ever phenol production plant in China. Once built, it will be capable of producing at least 400,000 tons of phenol every year to serve the rapidly growing Chinese market for this valuable raw material. The deal with Sinopec Yangzi Petrochemical Company was struck earlier this year. Harry Deans, CEO of partners INEOS Phenol, said it was the largest capital investment ever made by INEOS in China. “This mutually beneficial partnership is an important development for INEOS Phenol and INEOS in China,” he said. “Combining a strong, local partner like Sinopec YPC with our phenol technology and access to the market will bring considerable value to our business and to our customers.” The plant, which is expected to become fully operational by the end of 2015, will also be able to produce 250,000 tons of acetone – another valuable raw material used in everyday products – and 550,000 tons of cumene every year. Dr Ma Qiulin, CEO of Sinopec YPC, described the joint venture as an important partnership. “Our established presence, competitive edge and cumene technology, combined with INEOS’ leading phenol technology, puts us in a strong position to meet growing demand for downstream petrochemical products in the region,” he said. INEOS is already the world’s largest manufacturer of phenol and acetone with sites in Germany, Belgium and America. This will make it the only manufacturer in the world to have phenol and acetone production sites in Europe, America and Asia. The path was cleared for the project to proceed in November last year when the Chinese Ministry of Environmental Protection approved INEOS and Sinopec’s Environmental Impact That approval, which followed a detailed analysis, was viewed as a major step forward towards the formation of the joint venture. The plant will be built on the Nanjing Chemical Industrial Park in Jiangsu Province – at the heart of China’s largest market for phenol and acetone. With China now the world’s fastest growing market for phenol and acetone, it is expected that the new plant in Nanjing will free capacity at INEOS’ European and American plants so that they too can meet growth in those regions. Sinopec, which is China’s leading producer of phenol and acetone, currently has three production sites in Shanghai, Beijing, and Tianjin.

    2 minutes read Issue 4
  • Tarkett builds solid foundation for PVC flooring as Riflex flexes its renewable muscles

    THE future of PVC flooring in Sweden has never been better – thanks to INEOS’ biggest customer in Scandinavia. Tarkett is now selling PVC flooring that is free from phthalates, a type of plasticiser that has long been at the centre of controversy. Not only that, but the company’s PVC flooring has become the first to receive the blessing of a well-respected trade association in Sweden. The Swedish Byggvarubedömningen lists Tarkett’s iQ Granit on its database as a product that it recommends. The BVB, as it is known, evaluates all building materials to allow the construction industry to make environmentally-sound choices. So far its experts have evaluated more than 7,000 products but new ones are being added continuously. Approval for Tarkett’s PVC flooring is also good news for INEOS which currently supplies the company with its PVC every year. Meanwhile, Swedish company Riflex Film AB, another of INEOS’ customers, has developed a range of products using a new plasticiser that is based on renewable resources. Managing director Magnus Jörsmo said the investment was part of the privately-owned company’s quest to become Europe’s leading producer of niche speciality PVC films. INEOS supplies Riflex with polymers produced at INEOS ChlorVinyls in Stenungsund.

    1 minute read Issue 4
  • A Balanced View

    Andy Currie has been a director of INEOS for the past 13 years. As one of the INEOS Capital team he has been instrumental in shaping and progressing the company’s successful growth strategy. Here he talks to Tom Crotty about INEOS, its balanced portfolio of businesses, its future growth and why it was able to weather the full brunt of the European crisis.  video Tom: When you think about INEOS’ growth, some would suggest that it has been opportunistic.
 Do you think that’s fair? Andy: Historically, I think that’s pretty fair. As you know, in our early days, particularly in the first five to 10 years of INEOS, we were always looking at orphaned assets from blue chip majors that were available, unloved and probably undermanaged and that became our target area. Since the big acquisition of Innovene in December 2005, times have moved on. We have been through some pretty difficult market conditions, but our emphasis these days is much more on running the day-to-day business, getting it more and more efficient and ensuring it’s soundly financed for the future, but with the occasional acquisition. However, those have been very much strategic acquisitions. Seal Sands is a great example of that, where, essentially, we have been able to take over an asset which was struggling, change its costs base, improve its efficiencies and generally turn it around using the whole expertise that we have in the group. A more recent example would be the acquisition of Tessenderlo ChlorVinyls business by Kerling which, again, is going through that same type of progress. Tom: And what specific benefits have come from that approach? Andy: The great benefit is that we have the expertise in house. We have lots of people with a great variety of skills in running these operations efficiently. In the case of INEOS Nitriles, we are the largest producer in the world, our technology is all over the world in many, many plants so we have a lot of core expertise in the plants and technology, and we can then bring that to bear in how to run these plants very efficiently and very effectively. Tom: And what about portfolio products. What does that do for us? Andy: Essentially we are in many sectors within the chemical industry. The primary benefit of that is that we have robustness of earnings, and robustness of sales, particularly when times are difficult. Because, of course, being in commodities you inevitably have to deal with quite
sharp cycles, so having a wide variety of businesses and applications across different end markets brings with it a natural protection in those bad times. And we have seen that. Obviously the 2008/2009 major downturn – almost meltdown in many ways – was the ultimate test of that. In those days our position was that nearly a quarter of our sales was in the consumables arena. This was very valuable because people continue to need food and this requires packaging which was valuable to us along with other products used in the likes of pharmaceuticals, cosmetics or even soap powers. Tom: So, whilst we have got a great balanced portfolio of products, you cannot really say that about our geographic balance? Andy: No. That’s pretty fair. Although, having said that, look at our recent track record. Our profitability has been moving more and more towards 50/50 between North America and Europe, and when we go back to about six years ago, just after the Innovene transaction, about 70% was in Europe. It is not ideally balanced across the world but it is moving in a good direction. Obviously the US these days, with shale gas, is a very interesting market. But we are also keen to increase our exposure to Asia and our earnings in the region and that really is part of our underlying strategy going forwards. Tom: What are the main strategic challenges for INEOS moving forwards? Andy: One of our challenges is to get our debt down. We have made lots of progress. The refinancing is now thankfully completed so our next challenge is just to work at the portfolio, use the earnings but get our debt and leverage down to a lower level and at the same time look to fund growth. Tom: And what about growth? How do you see INEOS growing in the future? Andy: Our current main thrust, apart from those small opportunities around acquisitions, is that we are really looking at the US Gulf and
the US market generally to see how we can take advantage of the
recent arrival of shale gas. And the fact that you now have this major renaissance of the Gulf coast petrochemical industry and very low
cost ethane feedstock coming into the market. We already have a nice position there and one of our challenges will be to look at how INEOS can take advantage of that. That will be a focus of growth. The other major focus will be Asia, particularly China. Everyone is very familiar with our phenol project but there are others coming behind it. That will be Intermediates where we clearly have very strong positions in markets but also very strong technology positions, so we have something to bring to the table with the Chinese, which is very important. Tom: And how easy is it to achieve those same results when you work with the constraints of joint ventures? Andy: Inevitably joint ventures do bring a degree of complication. With two sets of shareholders – even with good alignment – it is more complex. You need to believe the benefits outweigh the disbenefits that come with that. If you take our suite of major joint ventures, we have obviously got the refining joint venture where clearly we have a massive partner, one of the largest companies in the world, now together with us in the refining industry, which is, as you know, very challenged today. But they bring their upstream capability of sourcing to the table, their financial muscle and they also have a very large trading capability in the whole arena so that’s where we see a very natural fit. If you take Styrolution, we have really put together two sets of assets to create the largest styrenics business in the world. There are obviously a lot of synergy possibilities of simplifying the business, reducing costs, and taking the best of both worlds. Joint ventures do work. It is not as straightforward as 100% ownership but, in terms of financing and what’s possible, it’s been very much on our agenda that we can achieve these joint ventures and we get a lot of benefits from them. Tom: And lastly Andy, around the INEOS Capital table, you have got Jim Ratcliffe supporting Manchester United, Jim Dawson Wolverhampton and John Reece Sunderland, where are your allegiances? Andy: Well, I must say I have kept my allegiances below the surface for quite some time. I can say it today, though, that I can just about put my nose above the parapet and say Sheffield Wednesday, who have now reached the glorious heights of the Championship as of next year so, yes, somewhat behind the rest of the pack but in recovery mode.

    15 minutes read Issue 3
  • Accidents Cast Long Shadows

    One only has to think of Texas city, Piper Alpha and the Deep Water Horizon to understand why INEOS puts safety as its highest priority. Incidents of such magnitude are thankfully very rare throughout the world but it is often smaller incidents that lead to the larger ones. Tackling these not only prevents injuries but also shapes people’s whole attitude to safety and the prevention of incidents. Most of INEOS’ accidents are slips, trips and falls – or in Köln’s case, hand injuries. The campaign to address these at the site has been so successful that it is now being adopted by neighbouring businesses. There’s a world of difference between listening and adopting. No-one is more aware of that than Jürgen Schmitz, whose job at INEOS Köln is to deliver the key messages about safety on site to almost 2,000 employees and 1,000 contractors day in, day out – and hope that they have listened and understood. “It’s not an easy task,” he says. “It can be challenging to find new ways to make safety topics interesting for the audience. But it is so important because safety is paramount on our site.” The number and severity of accidents on the 191-hectare site has constantly decreased in recent years. 98% of the accidents are behavioural related. Therefore, Jürgen and his team together with Holger Laqua, INEOS Oxide asset manager in Köln, decided to adopt a different approach and, for the first time, hired an advertising agency from Düsseldorf to help them develop an effective safety campaign. “It proved to be a stimulating undertaking,” said Jürgen. “We are safety engineers and somehow blinkered technical types and they are all very creative and out-of- the-box thinking guys. “So it was interesting to see and hear about safety interpreted by people who aren’t involved with safety issues every day like we are. “As such, they came up with very fresh ideas.” The advertising agency encouraged Jürgen, as head of the occupational health and safety department, and his team to think about safety from an employee’s viewpoint. Working together they created six different scenarios for a series of hard-hitting posters. Each of these focused on an area where accidents are most likely to occur. “Instead of hiring external people, we asked our employees if they would contribute as models for the pictures taken on site, in an environment that our staff would recognise,” he said. The result was immediate. Employees could see themselves in each hazardous situation and could clearly visualise the potential danger. So far three of the posters – all entitled ‘Accidents cast long shadows’ – have been unveiled. One shows an employee working in a confined space, another working at height and the third focuses on safe biking. The shadows in each picture reflect what could happen in the event of an accident. “Those are all typically dangerous situations on site and for the chemical industry itself,” said Jürgen. When each poster was launched, Jürgen and his team organised an interactive safety awareness day with simulators for employees to test their skills and knowledge. There was even a quiz with a prize. Jürgen says the trigger for the campaign was the desire to make staff think about safety in a new, unknown way. “It is all about psychology,” he said. “We want employees to stop for a minute and think before they start working.” So far, the feedback from employees and contractors to the poster campaign has been positive. The message, it seems, has not only been heard, but understood. In fact the campaign has been so effective and convincing that posters have been translated into Dutch, English, Italian and Norwegian to be used at other INEOS businesses
and sites. The campaign has also been praised by external organisations. “Local authorities were very interested in what we were doing and asked to share the posters with other chemical companies in Germany,” said Jürgen. On a personal level, Jürgen is proud of his team and what has been achieved so far. “They have had a lot of fun working on this campaign. But we are aware that we still need to push the rock – safety is a constant Sisyphus labour.”

    5 minutes read Issue 3
  • INEOS takes pride as basketball team net top trophy

    INEOS is a great believer in developing emerging talent – be it at work or play. The work the company does in attracting the brightest talent is well known among apprentices; its passion for supporting junior sports teams perhaps less so. But that support has helped BBC Nyon’s under 19s basketball team to win the Swiss National Championships.In fact the A team swept the board, also winning the Conférence OUEST de Basketball title and the Vaud’s cup. “The support of companies like INEOS is very important for sports clubs because we not only want to improve the standard of training but we also want to encourage a child’s passion for sport,” said club contact Josiane Chabbey. “We also believe that sport plays an important social role in a child’s life and helps to keep them on the right path.” INEOS Rolle, which started sponsoring the team at the start of the 2011/2012 season, is proud of its job on the sidelines. “We believe that we have a social responsibility to support the local communities where we operate,” said Rolle-based David Thompson, who is Procurement Director for INEOS Olefins and Polymers with a group responsibility for sponsorship. He said the club, which is regularly attended by about 200 children and also welcomes foreigners’ children, had used the money to invest in professional coaching and facilities and equipment for all the club’s junior teams.INEOS Rolle also sponsors Bursin/Rolle/Perroy soccer club, Nyon rugby club and Lausanne Hockey Club. “All focus the money we provide towards their junior teams,” said David.

    2 minutes read Issue 3
  • INEOS Oxide race for the sun

    To be fair, the eight of them could have flown from Paris to Nice in under two hours. But that wasn’t the aim of the game in any of their books.Instead Kurt De Bruyn, Didier Audenaert, Johan De Veirman, Jan De Meyere, Patrick Staes, Chantal Bracke, Kathleen Vriesacker and Chris Vroman from INEOS Oxide wanted to take a slightly more scenic route and go by bike, because it fitted in with their yearly challenge that compelled them to get fit.The 1,155km route – known in the professional cycling world as ‘the race to the sun’ – began in earnest.It wasn’t meant to be a race, but rather a six-day endurance challenge with a strong team-building element.But since they are all quite competitive souls, there was a constant desire to go faster, especially on the hills. The biggest ‘hill’ facing them was the 21km climb to the top of the 6,273ft (1,912m) Mont Ventoux – the highest mountain in the Provence region of France – and one of the toughest cols to climb in France.It is also the stuff of legend, having claimed the life of British cyclist Tom Simpson who died from heat exhaustion within half a mile of the summit on July 13, 1967. Thierry Nordera from INEOS Lavera, which is not too far from the mountain, had joined his colleagues for the climb to the top of the col which they all reached in good spirits.From the top, you get a breath-taking view of the whole of Provence and the lunar landscape on top of the mountain is quite spectacular.The journey, though, was not without drama. Some days it was so hot that the road melted, others left the riders soaked to the skin, and one particular day the fog was so dense that it made the ride from the Col de Vence not only scary but exhausting.All were greatly relieved to eventually arrive in Nice.To celebrate, they enjoyed a hearty meal washed down with a few glasses of wine as they rested their weary limbs in a hotel overlooking Nice.The following day they boarded their support mini-bus, which had accompanied them on their journey from Paris to Nice, as they made their way back to Antwerp.The group, which has always been well supported by INEOS, said a future ride might be organised to link some of INEOS’ European sites.

    2 minutes read Issue 3
  • INEOS supports historic panda project

    An historic project that will see the reintroduction of giant pandas into the wild has won financial support from INEOS Grangemouth and PetroIneos Fuels Ltd.The company has agreed to support the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland’s giant panda research for three years. As part of the conservation research project, two giant pandas are now housed at Edinburgh Zoo. They are the only animals of their kind in the UK and one of only three pairs in Europe.China confirmed that the two pandas could be brought to the UK on the same day that INEOS signed a letter of intent which subsequently led to the formation of a refining joint venture with PetroChina.Gordon Grant, CEO INEOS Grangemouth Services, said it was rather fitting that the sponsorship arrangement should also be agreed on that day.Andrew Gardner, commercial manager for PetroIneos Fuels, said the partnership with PetroChina would also bring tremendous benefits to INEOS’ refineries in Scotland and Southern France.

    1 minute read Issue 3
  • INEOS awards ground-breaking contract

    Cleveland Fire Brigade has won a multi-million pound contract to provide 24-hour emergency cover at INEOS Nitriles’ Seal Sands site.It is the first time the fire brigade has won a private sector contract but hopes this will be the first of many to help it safeguard local fire and rescue services in Cleveland amid sweeping British Government cuts in the public sector.“We’re over the moon that our social enterprise approach has scored its first big commercial success,” said Chief Fire Officer Ian Hayton.All profits will be used to fund dozens of community fire safety schemes over the next three years.INEOS said it was delighted with its decision to award the job to Cleveland.“Not only will we be receiving a high quality, professional service, but we are also delighted that profit will be used to provide vital community safety work that will make a positive difference to quality of life across Teesside.” said Jean Phaneuf from INEOS Nitriles.

    1 minute read Issue 3
  • The world tunes in for the greatest sport show on earth

    More than one billion people from all corners of the globe watched the Opening Ceremony of London’s Olympic Games on July 27. That was almost the entire population of China who tuned in to witness arguably the greatest sports show on earth. INEOS was watching too – for a host of reasons. As a company, it had been greatly cheered by the Olympic organisers’ decision to embrace PVC and all its magical qualities in creating the Olympic Park. As a company with manufacturing sites in Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Holland, Italy, Norway, Sweden, UK and USA, employees of many nations were cheering for their own home-grown athletes. And for some, like Jerry Tweddle and Manfred Hartung, who both work for INEOS, it was deeply personal as their offspring British gymnast Beth and German fencer Max aimed to bring home gold during this summer’s Games. As INCH went to press, Max had narrowly failed to beat Hungarian Aron Szilagyi to win a place in the semi-finals of the men’s sabre event. But Beth went on to become the first British woman
to ever win an Olympic medal in individual women’s gymnastics. In a tense final at North Greenwich Arena, the 27-year-old earned a bronze medal after qualifying for the uneven bars final with one of the best routines of her life. Organisers of this summer’s London 2012 Games said it had taken weeks to prepare the Olympic Stadium in Stratford, East London, for the extravagant Opening Ceremony entitled Isles of Wonder. “We wanted to capture a picture of ourselves as a nation, where we have come from and where we want to be,” said Danny Boyle, London 2012 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony Artistic Director. The lighting of the cauldron in the 80,000-seater stadium with the Olympic flame signalled the start
of the 16-day event and the end of the 70-day torch relay, involving 8,000 torchbearers, that had begun at Land’s End in Cornwall on May 19 when Ben Ainslie, three times Olympic gold medallist in sailing, set off on the first leg of the 8,000-mile journey. During its epic relay, the flame travelled – apart from
on foot – by lifeboat, steam train, rowing boat, on horseback, via a zip wire, cable car and across Loch Ness, and passed a host of historic landmarks such
as Aintree Racecourse, The Eden Project, Caernarfon Castle, Stonehenge, Clifton Suspension Bridge, Trafalgar Square, Downing Street and Buckingham Palace. It was handled, among others, by former Olympic runner Brendan Foster, Jerry Tweddle’s daughter Beth, who is now considered Britain’s best-ever gymnast, and of course INEOS firefighter Craig Hannah. The torch had been tested in BMW’s climatic testing facility in Munich, Germany, to ensure it could withstand Britain’s changeable weather. And although the flame did go out due to a malfunctioning burner in Devon, it remained alight when it reached the highest point of all on the London 2012 Torch Relay – the 3,560ft (1,085m) summit of Snowdon in North Wales. In fact, the weather was near perfect when mountaineer Sir Chris Bonington, 77, who conquered Mount Everest in 1975, stood on the Welsh summit, holding the flame aloft.

    5 minutes read Issue 3
  • Fired-up

    The Olympic flame was in exceptionally safe hands when it was passed to Craig Hannah on June 8. VIDEO For the 48-year-old, chosen to carry the flame through the Scottish city of Glasgow, has been a firefighter for years. Craig, who works at INEOS’ Grangemouth site, said there were no dramas on the day – apart from the drama of the occasion, that is. “I was on cloud nine that day,” he said. The flame, which Craig carried for half a mile before handing it to the next torchbearer, had been lit from the sun’s rays in Greece 29 days earlier. “When you think about it, it’s awesome,” said Craig. “You’re holding a flame that’s come all that way.” Lord Sebastian Coe, who is chairman of the London 2012 Organising Committee, said the flame symbolised the Olympic spirit and its journey around the UK had brought the excitement of the London Games to the streets of Britain. That’s certainly what Craig had hoped to see – and witnessed – when he took to the streets. “It was good to get the kids excited about the Olympics and to encourage them to do sport because you hardly see younger ones out and about these days,” he said. “They all seem to be at home on their computers.” Craig had been chosen as one of the UK’s 8,000 torchbearers after being nominated by brother-in-law Jim Blaikie for his work in the Bo’ness community. “It was very humbling to know that I was chosen out of so many people who were nominated,” he said. Craig is a well-known pillar of the Bo’ness community. He has run a music project for young people in Bo’ness called Cozy Blanket for about 15 years. And many local children and bands use the studio, which is kitted out with equipment. He’s also a church elder at St Andrew’s, plays drums in local band Hunter and volunteers as a first response contact with the ambulance. “It’s good having a job where you work shifts because it allows me to facilitate all the voluntary stuff,” he said. Those who missed Craig in Glasgow later found him – and the Olympic torch he carried through the Scottish city’s streets – at the Bo’ness Children’s Fair Festival on June 29. Video - sailing

    7 minutes read Issue 3
  • PVC flexes its muscles

    INEOS doesn’t have a habit of shouting about its achievements from the rooftops but maybe it should. If you are looking for a company that touches almost everything we do INEOS really is the word for chemicals. INEOS has been helping to break world records, shape world events and create world champions for years. As a company, it’s deeply proud of those achievements but there the accolades seemingly end. For few others - outside the industry - are perhaps aware of the massive contribution that PVC makes to the world of modern sport. “It’s an amazing material,” said Jason Leadbitter, Sustainability and Compliance Manager for INEOS ChlorVinyls. “It is cost-effective, long-lasting, easy to maintain and a highly versatile construction material with a favourable environmental footprint.” That said, Jason said that sadly some would always be institutionally racist against PVC. “It will always be seen by some as the bad boy of plastics, which really grieves me,” he said. Fearing that the organisers of London 2012 might buckle under pressure from environmental groups such as Greenpeace and ban PVC from
the Olympic Games – just as the Australian organisers in Sydney had done in 2000 – he, along with other industry representatives, arranged to meet Dan Epstein, Olympic Delivery Authority’s head of sustainable development, about five years ago to make a case for using PVC. “All we asked for was a fair hearing,” said Roger Mottram, Environmental & Regulatory Affairs Manager for INEOS ChlorVinyls and chairman of the British Plastics Federation Vinyls Group. He also attended the meeting. “And that’s what we got. He was very good to us. “He told us that just as the athletes would be expected to raise the bar on performance, he wanted the industry to do the same. “He wanted us to set new standards and innovate. “We just wanted the chance to prove we could. And that’s essentially what we intend to do.” When the London Games officially opened on July 27, more than 142,000 square metres of PVC had been used to create the venues – including the aquatics centre – for the biggest sports’ show on earth. Athletes competed in arenas with PVC floors and some relied on equipment made from PVC. The thousands watching as the events unfolded sat under PVC canopies, protected by PVC barriers. That’s not to mention the miles of PVC pipes and electrical cables that had been laid before the Opening Ceremony, which attracted a worldwide TV audience of over one billion people. “PVC was in use almost everywhere you looked,” said Roger. And the reason for that is simple. In short, PVC can withstand pouring rain, raging seas and blazing sunshine, which is good news when one considers Britain’s unpredictable summers. Those who think, though, that the Olympic Delivery Authority simply caved in under pressure from the PVC industry and gave it an easy ride, should think again. Aware that the use of PVC is a contentious issue, London 2012’s sustainability group published a policy in 2009 outlining the use of vinyl in the Olympic Park. Video “We wanted to use the opportunity of hosting the London 2012 Olympics to work with the industry to set new standards,” said Dan Epstein. “We wanted to help move the industry towards a more sustainable manufacture, use and disposal of PVC fabrics.” He said the stringent controls and audit processes had been put in place to ensure that where PVC was used, it was done in an environmentally- friendly way so that much of it could be recycled or reused. David Stubbs, head of sustainability on the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games, said recycling was important because London 2012 had more temporary venues than at any previous Olympics or global event. All those temporary structures are due to be torn down and recycled when the Paralympic Games come to a close on September 9. The PVC will be separated from other materials such as natural textiles, metal and rubber and then recycled or reused. The proposal is to use some of the PVC at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil and it is hoped that once the basketball arena has been dismantled that it may be reused at the 2016 Rio Games. The policy, which was drawn up by London 2012, also insisted that all materials had to: INCLUDE at least 30% recycled content; 
BE manufactured in accordance with The European Council of Vinyl Manufacturers’ Industry Charter; and MEET standards for effluent discharges and vent gases and must not contain lead, mercury or cadmium stabilisers. Richard Jackson, principal sustainable development and regeneration manager of the Olympic Delivery Authority, spoke of lessons learned in a report, entitled Learning Legacy. He said despite initial concerns about the policy, the plastics industry had broadly welcomed the approach and said that it had actually stimulated the supply chain to innovate a non-phthalate PVC, which was used in a number of the building wraps. The policy, he said, had also recognised the PVC industry’s voluntary code, Vinyl2010, which during its 10-year lifecycle had exceeded its own targets on recycling and made good progress in phasing out various additives. INEOS had been heavily involved in Vinyl2010’s commitment to look at what the industry could do about PVC across Europe and had made a significant financial contribution to its success. Last year the European PVC industry – buoyed by the success of Vinyl2010 – went even further and signed up to VinylPlus, a new 10-year voluntary commitment. “With VinylPlus we have put in place some new, more ambitious targets for sustainable development,” said Jason. All the targets have been indirectly set by stakeholders following a consultation. “This means we can really address the areas that are perceived to be issues,” he said. Their plan is to:
 RECYCLE 800,000 tons of PVC every year by 2020;
 PHASE out lead stabliser additives by 2015; and
 REDUCE the amount of energy used in the production of PVC. “We’re trying to find ways to make people more aware of the benefits of PVC but also show that we’re making progress on environmental sustainability,” said Jason. At a press conference in London in June, Roger launched a British Plastic Federation brochure PVC in Sport to show how critical PVC had become to the world of high performance sports. “These are exciting times for sporting events and PVC will play its part,” he said. The brochure also highlighted the criteria that the Olympic Delivery Authority had set in its PVC policy for London 2012. Roger said he hoped it would help to spread the message about the sustainability of PVC. “The UK PVC industry has undergone a transformation after a period when the material was effectively labelled a public menace,” he told journalists. During a recent interview with British Plastics and Rubber Magazine, Roger spoke of the importance of events like the Olympics to PVC. “If a lot of PVC is used in big projects like the Olympics and can be shown to meet the very strict sustainability criteria, then we hope that it will encourage others to follow suit,” he said. “What we’ve shown is that PVC can be recycled and that it can, and is being, responsibly produced at a very high standard.” Jason said one of the main aims of VinylPlus was also to make stakeholders aware of the contribution PVC made in modern life. “PVC is incredibly versatile and used in many everyday items that people take for granted,” he said. The group is also promoting a new study which compares the full cost of PVC against other materials. “In the current economic climate, where the public sector is under pressure to make savings, we want to show that you can save millions on council budgets if you use PVC products.” he said.

    15 minutes read Issue 3
  • INEOS keeps athletes in the running for gold

    Carbon fibre stands to revolutionise the way we all live, work and play. And in many ways, it already has. One only has to watch sprinters competing in the Paralympic Games on carbon-fibre blades. INEOS Nitriles supplies the world with acrylonitrile, the core ingredient needed to make carbon fibre. No-one will forget the sight of American sprinter Dennis Oehler break the 12-second barrier in the 100-metres at the Seoul 1988 Paralympic Games in South Korea. For it was the first time the world had seen carbon fibre springs in action. Those carbon-fibre blades, which have since revolutionised track events for disabled athletes, are today an iconic symbol of Paralympic sport. And for INEOS Nitriles – the world’s largest producer of Acrylonitrile – it’s yet another reason to feel mighty proud. Acrylonitrile – a chemical from the cyanide family – is an essential ingredient in the manufacture of carbon fibre. Without it, the world would not have carbon fibre, and without carbon fibre many important, new developments would simply not be possible. Barry Slater is global sales director of INEOS Nitriles. “It is an incredibly exciting area to be working in,” he said. “The biggest challenge is that carbon fibre is expensive – it’s a lot more expensive than steel - but it’s starting to find its way into many premium markets.” Take the Boeing 787, America’s state-of-the-art medium-sized, aircraft, which was launched late last year. Its carbon fibre structure has led to a reduction in weight with co2 emissions being slashed by almost 20% compared to existing aircraft. The people behind the aircraft are Toray, a Japanese company that is now considered the world number one in the manufacture of carbon fibre. The people behind Toray are INEOS, which has secured the rights to supply Toray with Acrylonitrile for the Boeing 787 fleet. And so far Boeing is believed to have already received orders for more than 800 aircraft from airlines around the world. “It is fantastic for INEOS,” said Barry. In the meantime, though, attention is, for now, focused on the Paralympic Games which open in London on August 29. There, carbon fibre has played a significant role in the dramatic increase in performance for disabled athletes and it is the properties of the material that make it ideal for prosthetics. For a start it is about five times as strong as steel. It
is stiffer but much lighter. It is made up of strands of carbon, thinner than a human hair that are twisted together and then woven like cloth to make a carbon fibre layer. Each running blade is made up of more than 80 layers of carbon. Each layer is added one at a time over a mould, by hand. It can take one person two hours to lay the carbon for a single running blade. Pressure and heat are then applied to fuse and harden the carbon layers. It is the moulding and the setting that is the interesting bit. One athlete competing using carbon fibre running blades will be 100m World Champion Heinrich Popow who almost set a new European record when he ran the 100 metres in 12.43 seconds at Berlin on June 15. “It was the perfect start to the season,” he said. “And I now cannot wait for London.” At London 2012 he will be competing in the 100 metres and the long jump. But it is the 100 metres where he hopes to take home the gold medal to Germany. “It’s all about the 100 metres and I don’t want to finish second,” he said. He also hopes his performance will help to raise the bar for all Paralympic sports. “For me it is clear that all competitors for the Paralympic Games are acknowledged as athletes in their own right, not for their disabilities,”
 he said. Heinrich, who had once dreamed of becoming a professional footballer, said it had taken time to learn how to run fast with a prosthetic leg, but the secret had been to never give up. “Sport is the most important thing in my life,” said Heinrich, who was just nine when doctors discovered a tumour in his left calf and told him that his leg had to be amputated. “No matter whether I win or lose, I don’t give up. I stick with it. I want to encourage other people with my success and show them that there is always an opportunity, even in the biggest setback.” Also competing at the London 2012 Paralympic Games on a carbon fibre running blade will be Kelly Cartwright. The International Paralympic Committee believes Heinrich and Kelly are two of the athletes to watch this summer. “I believe you can do everything that you want to do in life regardless of whether you have a disability or not,” said Kelly. “I am asked quite a bit about the things that I can’t do because of my disability but the only thing that I can think of is wearing high heels.”

    7 minutes read Issue 3
  • INEOS excels come rain or shine

    INEOS Oligomers produces some amazing materials, including Poly Isobutylene, a phenomenal product with a myriad of uses that most ordinary people would never be aware of. One extraordinary man, who was aware, was Richard Schabel who not only discovered Poly Isobutylene but used it to help him become a world champion. Paralympian Richard Schabel’s chances of a gold medal literally slipped out of his hands at the Sydney Olympics in 2000. The British discus thrower, who is unable to grip with his hand, had used a glue-like substance to help him hold on to it until its release. But the pine resin-type substance he had been using melted in the palm of his hand in the blistering heat. “It meant the discus was so slippery that I couldn’t grip it,” he said. Disappointment led him on a quest to find a product that would perform at its best – come rain or shine. That search led him to Indopol H18000, a product produced by INEOS Oligomers. “He had already tried a sample of it and knew it worked, but he wanted to speak to the manufacturer to source a larger, regular supply,” said Ian Purvis, account manager INEOS Oligomers. Ian was happy to oblige. “We could certainly see why it would work, if not how it would work,” he said. “Indopol H18000 is one of the tackiest products in the market and provides excellent adhesion to almost any surface and its hydrophobic properties means it would not be affected by rain or sweat.” The product – although not a ‘glue’ in its own right – worked wonders. “It made a massive difference to my performance,” said Richard who went on to become the world No.1 discus champion. “It was consistently good, which meant I could train better. And on the day of any competition, it meant it was one less thing for me to worry about.” But it took time for Richard to perfect his throw using the substance, which he applied to three fingertips and the palm of his hand. “I have got no control over when the discus is released so if you have got too little on, the discus can slip out of your hand too early,” he said. “And if you put on too much, it comes out too late.” What helped Richard, though, was that the product retained its tackiness, which meant he just had to work on his timing. Sadly Richard, who is now 54, will not get to put it to the ultimate test after failing to qualify for the GB squad for this summer’s Paralympics in London. He’s disappointed but he will be watching from the sidelines. And having completed the London Marathon four times, he knows the difference a home crowd will make to the British athletes. “There will be an extra buzz for all of them because they will be competing in front of a home crowd,” he said. “I remember the noise being deafening in Beijing, so hopefully they will see that too in London.” Richard, who broke his neck in a car accident when he was 21, had already had a sneak preview of the London 2012 Olympic Stadium. He – along with scores of athletes – had been invited to take part in a test event inside the 80,000-seater stadium. Although Richard has not made the GB squad, one who will definitely be watching Britain’s Paralympic discus throwers will be Ian. “It is a shame that Richard won’t be among them,” said Ian. “But on a personal level, it’s wonderful that we have been able to help Richard. “And from a business perspective, it’s always fascinating to find new and interesting applications for our products because it helps us to understand how we can help businesses create new products, using our materials.” Almost 80,000 tons of Poly Isobutylene is produced at INEOS Oligomers’ site in Lavera, France, every year. It’s known as ‘PIB’ for short and is a clever little chemical that can be found in everything from cosmetics, to ‘blue tack’, to motorbike oil to cling film. It even puts the ‘chew’ in chewing gum. “There is nothing like it on the market,” said Ian Purvis, Account Manager for INEOS Oligomers, who has been selling PIBs for 11 years. “It is a phenomenal product with a myriad of uses that most ordinary people would never be aware of.” INEOS provides the chemistry, and different processes are then used in the production activity that results in different grades of Poly Isobutylene. Some emerge as free-flowing oils, some are more sticky with a honey-like consistency and others finish off as very tacky, rubber-like materials. “All the ‘magic’ basically goes on in the polymerisation phase,” said Ian.
 Some of INEOS’ biggest customers are film producers (supplying farmers with silage wrap), and producers of adhesives and sealants. Ian said PIBs had been around for years so it was operating in a mature market where every possible use had, in the most part, been exploited. That’s one of the reasons why Ian said he was so thrilled to be contacted by Paralympian Richard Schabel. “Most people who call me for samples are producers,” he said. “It’s rare we get to speak to someone who actually uses the end product. “Whilst this really is the ultimate niche market, it illustrates well how we work. Listening to stories like this helps us to understand how we can develop new business and create new products using our materials.”

    10 minutes read Issue 3
  • Debate: The Olympics - a sustainable legacy or expensive extravagance?

    Britain has so far spent £9.3 billion on hosting this year’s Olympic Games. UK Prime Minister David Cameron believes the Games will deliver a lasting legacy to the city of London. But others might beg to differ, most notably Greece, which blames hosting the 2004 Games in Athens for its current massive debt crisis. So what are the Olympics: a sustainable legacy or an expensive extravagance? Legacy: The Olympics will revitalise local sport in Britain for generations to come. The legacy of sports in schools, where we have got half the country’s
schools taking part in a schools Olympics. And the least tangible of all,
which is the inspiration people will feel when they see great British athletes, 
whether rowing in a race, riding on a bicycle or running on the track.
It’s well-known that this has a transformational effect. You can have any
number of Government summits about sport in schools, but the sight of
Sir Chris Hoy or someone like that has people in the shops saying ‘I want
to buy a bicycle, I want to get on my bike’. That’s the bit you can’t touch,
but it is very, very powerful and I think it can bring the country together.David Cameron, British Prime Minister The legacy of the 2012 Olympics has preoccupied us almost as much as
the event itself. Which is as it should be. When we invest so much in a two-
and-half-week festival of sport, we expect to reap some longer-term benefits.
Having said that, legacy is a problematic word, because it has so many elements to it. First there is the material legacy left behind in the shape of
venues like the velodrome, the aquatic centre and the Olympic stadium itself.
Then there is the cultural legacy, the impression of Britain that visitors take
away with them. But the most important part, in my opinion, is the human
legacy. British sport will receive an unquantifiable but powerful boost from
the fact that the Olympics will be in the foreground of everybody’s thoughts.
Sir Steve Redgrave, five-times Olympic gold medallist Notwithstanding the massive social benefits from staging the Olympics, there has already been great investment into an area of London in desperate need of rejuvenation. East London is characterised by rising levels of child poverty, not opportunity and promise. This is no ‘circus’. This will have a long-term effect on the area and on the British economy.Charlie Edwards, founder and editor of Political Promise The Beijing Olympic Games were in many ways the most extravagant games ever held. Stunning new stadiums were erected that have themselves become
tourist sites. Large parts of northern Beijing (a city where land is expensive
and scarce) were devoted to Olympic athletic, recreational and housing 
facilities. All this went well above budget, even before one counts the cost
of the magnificent opening ceremonies. But what the city gained was an
enormous investment in its basic infrastructure and in its public spaces.
 New subway lines began to criss-cross a city that had become paralysed
by vehicular traffic. New highways were added, as ring-upon-ring roads encircled the central city. A stunning new airport terminal, larger than all 
of Heathrow, and perhaps the most beautiful on earth, opened to coincide 
with the Olympics, and new parks were built across this otherwise grey city.William Kirby, professor of Chinese Studies, Harvard University The 1996 Summer Games had a tremendously positive effect on Atlanta’s urban landscape. Without the incentive of hosting the Games, who
knows if an excellent public space like Centennial Olympic Park would have been constructed in our city centre. The park is a centrepiece in Downtown Atlanta’s revitalization efforts as several major high-rises, museums and attractions have been built on its periphery. It still serves 
as an amazing event space. Yes, the Olympics are costly, but they can
help create a more sustainable urban environment for the host city.
Dahshi Marshall, urban planner, Atlanta Regional Commission Extravagance: No one knows how much the Olympics cost Greece, although many think it played a major role in producing
the debt that spurred the country’s economic downfall. As one of the smallest countries to host the event, the Greeks still speak of 2004 as a defining moment, when the country crackled with optimism, confidence and pride. But Athens’ Olympic Park is no testimony to past glories. Instead, it is indicative of misplaced extravagance, desolation and despair.Helena Smith, The Sydney Morning Herald The Olympics was all about consumption in order to capitalise on the Olympic phenomenon and create advertising spots to sell products. For us it was catastrophic.Manolis Trickas, Councillor in the Athens suburb Hellenikon There is no doubt that hosting an Olympic festival produces a large measure of civic pride. When a host city is placed before the television, the eyes of two thirds of the world’s population, the event becomes a magnified public relations and advertising phenomenon. But civic pride aroused from such an endeavor is fleeting and the monuments built for the spectacle in the form of stadiums and sporting venues shortly become little more than ghostly reminders of once glorious days. In point of fact, the historical record of long-term benefit from Olympic-related sports facilities is one indelibly burdened by maintenance and operation costs that rise well above user-fee revenue.Robert K Barney, International Centre
for Olympic Studies at the University
of Western Ontario in Canada The evidence from past Olympic Games hardly suggests that there’s a resounding economic gain from being the host city. Montreal’s 1976 Olympics left the city with $2.7 billion of debt that it finally paid off in 2005. A city looking for an economic boost would be wise to not host the Olympics.Andrew Zimbalist, economist, Smith
College, Massachusetts Economists generally find that local organisers and sports boosters routinely exaggerate the benefits and underestimate the costs of hosting major events such as the Olympics.
If a city is using an expectation of a financial windfall as justification for hosting the Olympics, past experience suggests that the host will be in for a rude awakening.Victor Matheson, economist, College of Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts

    8 minutes read Issue 3
  • Clothed in success

    Who would have imagined that clothes – once worn because they were cheap – would today be leading the way in high performance clothing? But that’s the score. And one that both INEOS and Dralon are exceptionally proud of – for very different reasons. Men and women of a certain age will remember nylon and acrylic. The synthetic fabrics were popular in the seventies. Nylon didn’t crease and it dried quicker than cotton, and acrylic was bulky and warm.
And both were cheap. But in time, they became products to avoid. Barry Slater, global sales director for INEOS Nitriles, remembers those days well. “Synthetics were considered the poor alternative to natural fibres,” he said. “Their performance and ‘feel’ were worse, but, they had their own place in the market.” Then something changed. They changed. Like all athletes, they worked on their performance. “That’s the good thing about synthetics,” said Barry. “Because they are man-made you can actually play with their properties. You can adjust the mix of the chemicals, you can change the characteristics so that they can compete with natural fibres. And sometimes you can make them even better.” And that’s what Dralon, the world’s largest producer of dry-spun acrylic fibres, did, drawing on INEOS’ piped supply of Acrylonitrile to make it happen. Dralon and INEOS share a site in Dormagen, near Köln, which makes life easier for both companies to do business. Every day more than 200 tons of Acrylonitrile, the principal raw material needed for the manufacture of acrylic fibre, are piped to Dralon where magical things have been happening for years. “A lot of development has been done there over the years,” said Barry. “Acrylic, for instance, is a lot softer now. It used to be so strong that jumpers would begin to pill. A lot of work has been done to make the fabric weaker so that the little balls of fluff now fall off.” The result is that today, world-class athletes swear by both nylon and acrylic clothing to enhance their performance. Little wonder. Today’s acrylic fabrics are clever. If you’re cold, it keeps you warm, and if you’re hot and sweaty, it does something about it. It soaks up the moisture, wicking it away from the body, and transports it up and out so that it evaporates. That’s unlike cotton, which, when it gets wet, becomes heavy, leading to blisters on feet. The same applies to denim and why you should never go hiking in it. It gets wet and heavy in poor weather. “Cotton actually becomes almost round when it is exposed to water and sweat,” said Manfred Borchers, head of marketing and sales worldwide for Dralon. Tests have also shown that nylon dries 60% faster than cotton, with acrylic performing even better – at 75%. Socks hold their shape and jackets retain their thermal properties even when they are wet. Dralon produces 188,000 tons of dry and wet spun acrylic fibres every year at its two German plants. Those fibres are then made into a multitude of high performance clothing including socks, sweaters, T-shirts, ski wear and hats. “Our dry-spun fibre doesn’t absorb any moisture at all,” said Manfred. The Acrylonitrile industry is now a more than five-million ton industry. “INEOS is the global number one maker and marketer,” said Barry. “And we ship it across the world.” INEOS Nitriles’ top five customers include Dralon, Chi Mei, the world’s largest manufacturer of ABS plastic in Taiwan, and Turkish company AKSA, one of the world’s largest acrylic manufacturers. It also supplies Acrylonitrile to Japanese synthetic fibre maker Toray Industries, the world’s number one in the manufacture of carbon fibre, which – given time – stands to revolutionise the way we all live, work and play. “Carbon fibre is effectively roasted acrylic fibre,” said Barry. “But it’s an amazing material.” One only has to look at the iconic Lotus bike that British cyclist Chris Boardman rode to victory at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. The acrylic fibre industry, meanwhile, is not as lucrative as it once was. “It used to produce two and a half million tons a year but it’s now two million due to the fact that polyester, which is cheaper, is competing with it,” said Barry. He said it was one of the reasons why the acrylic fibre industry had opted to specialise in the high performance sportswear market. It needed a niche market and it found one. For INEOS Nitriles, the use of Acrylonitriles in the manufacture of plastics used in IT equipment, domestic appliances, like Dyson and car interiors, is an area that is growing. As a business though, when the stars line up, INEOS Nitriles can turn over about £3 billion a year. “We have some incredible customers because we have very strong manufacturing of Acrylonitrile,” said Barry. “We own the technology.” The demand for all fibres, though, is growing. Today’s 35 million ton total fibres market is forecast to grow to 70 million tons by 2020 as economies develop. As the earth’s land resources are limited and stretched to provide food for the growing population, nearly all of this growth in fibre will come from synthetics. “That could be good news for acrylic.” said Barry. Marriage made in heaven Köln is considered to be the home of acrylic fibres and Acrylonitrile in Europe. What today is INEOS was then BP. What today is Dralon was then the acrylic fibre unit of Bayer AG. In the late 1950s, BP and Bayer agreed to build a naphtha cracker in Dormagen to cover the increasing demand of Bayer for petrochemicals’ derivatives. Around that cracker, downstream products – building block chemicals – such as Acrylonitrile were installed. “A big part of the available propylene was transformed into Acrylonitrile and a huge portion of that was, and still is, today fed by pipeline to Dralon,” said Manfred Borchers, head of marketing and sales worldwide for Dralon. “In doing that, a very sustainable supply chain was installed way ahead of today’s ongoing discussions of what is sustainable and what is not.” Today INEOS is a global industry leader in the Acrylonitrile business. Dralon is still global number three producer in the acrylic fibres world despite increasing competition from the Far East where fibres are mainly being processed.

    12 minutes read Issue 3
  • Timed to perfection

    INEOS’ big goal for this year had been to refinance the remainder of its borrowing when the time was right. Never one to miss an opportunity, INEOS deemed the time was right in April.
 And it seems others couldn’t agree more. INEOS made history in the financial world in April Buoyed by the markets’ response at the end of January to what it could offer investors, it went back as planned to refinance the remainder of its borrowing and achieved the largest-ever covenant-lite loan for a European company and the largest globally since the credit crunch began in 2008. “It was a staggering achievement by the company,” said Michael Moravec, head of European high-yield syndicate and co-head of EMEA leveraged finance origination at Barclays, global co-ordinators of the financing alongside JPMorgan. “It eliminated all INEOS’ near-term maturities, took refinancing risk off the table and converted its entire debt structure away from maintenance covenants to simple incurrence covenants.” He said the upshot of that – maintenance covenants are much more onerous for companies, especially in cyclical sectors such as chemicals – is greater freedom and flexibility for INEOS to operate. “Management can now concentrate on what it does best, which is managing a chemicals business,” he said. Elsewhere, reaction to the refinancing package was equally as positive. Euroweek, the leading weekly newspaper for the global capital markets, said INEOS had shown its clout as
a borrower. “INEOS was able to switch at the last moment to where the pricing was keenest,” Oliver West, a leverage finance reporter, wrote in an article published at the end of April. But it was also about timing, as INEOS Finance Director John Reece had forecast when he spoke to INCH magazine in March, after INEOS successfully refinanced a large chunk of its borrowing in January – a year before it needed to. “You really have to take advantage of the credit markets when they are there because they are very cyclical,” he said. Malcolm Stewart, a partner at Ondra Partners, a long-standing adviser to INEOS, said the timing had been perfect. “They nailed it,” he said. “The initial deal had been so robustly received by the markets at the end of January that INEOS went back to the markets very quickly.” INEOS also knew the window of opportunity offered by the markets would not be open for very long – and management was right. Within a month, interest rates had risen by 1%. “When you are talking about a $3.8 billion refinancing deal, it’s a lot of money, which could be invested elsewhere in the business,” said Malcolm, who described the April deal as the ‘happy culmination’ of four years’ work. The revival in covenant-lite loans follows the search for ‘yield’ in corporate debt. With interest rates at an all-time low, investors want more for their money and borrowers want more leeway given the unpredictability of the global economy. Covenant-lite loans, which strip away some of the restrictions for companies, offer both. In April, INEOS Group held investor days in London 
and New York. CEOs from each of the businesses gave detailed information on performance and markets to give investors the opportunity to fully understand the company. It wanted to refinance its senior credit facilities – and extract the best terms – and to do so, it simply made best use of competing demand between US and Euro investors in high-yield bonds and loans. “The company initially came out with $1.5 billion in loans and $2.2 billion in bonds,” said Malcolm. “But every investor in the world knows the strength and depth of the US high-yield bond market and that it could have absorbed the entire refinancing. “So, initially showing a large high-yield bond gave every incentive to loan investors to submit large orders on tight terms.” In a smart move, INEOS surprised the market – almost at the 11th hour – by dropping the Euro high-yield bond component completely and reducing the US high-yield bond to just $775 million. Instead, it raised a $2 billion six-year, covenant-lite leveraged loan, a $375 million three-year covenant-lite loan and, the biggest surprise of all, a $500 million six-year covenant-lite leveraged loan. And there was more good news to come. INEOS’ successful refinancing also helped to improve its credit rating. Standard & Poor’s upgraded it from a B to B with a ‘positive’ outlook. “The rating actions reflect our view of INEOS’ resilient operating performance in recent quarters,” said Oliver Kroemker, associate director and credit analyst at Standard & Poor’s. And Moody’s Investors Service also changed its outlook on INEOS to positive. It said the refinancing would give INEOS more financial freedom, thanks to the removal of the covenant restrictions. Most of INEOS’ borrowing stems from 2005 when it took out a series of loans to buy Innovene from BP and many of those loans are now coming to maturity. John said INEOS could have looked for finance in the equity market instead of the debt market, but chose not to. “The difference is that one gives INEOS control; the other doesn’t,” he said. Malcolm said he understood INEOS’ reluctance to be anything other than a privately-owned company. “Public equity is not in INEOS’ DNA,” he said. “When you give the public shares, you give them votes and rights in how a company is managed. “As it stands, INEOS can manage its affairs, through the ups and downs of the chemicals’ cycle, in a way that best suits the company and its long-term needs, without having to worry about shareholders’ shorter-term requirements.” INEOS Group second quarter trading INEOS suffered a slowdown in the second quarter of 2012 – after an impressive start to the year. The Group reported that its earnings (EBITDA) for the second quarter were €308 million compared to €576 million (a quarterly record) for the same quarter last year – and down €157 on this year’s first quarter. Finance Director John Reece said “Before this INEOS had actually enjoyed a fairly strong April but the impact of steeply declining oil prices – the price fell from $123 per barrel to $94 during the quarter – adversely affected May and June’s historical cost results.” It meant that non-cash inventory holding losses of about €141 million were incurred during the second quarter, mainly in the Olefins & Polymers businesses. Chemical Intermediates reported EBITDA of €119 million compared to €267 million in the second quarter last year and €233 million for quarter one. Lower feedstock prices – combined with the general macro- economic uncertainty – had influenced sentiment in the chemical Intermediates businesses. INEOS Phenol was one of the better performers. The heavy industry turnaround schedule had maintained a strong supply side influence, which had led to healthy margins and volumes. And INEOS Oligomers also experienced steady demand and solid margins in all sectors. Volumes and margins for INEOS Nitriles, continued to be relatively weak, with subdued demand for acrylic fibre and ABS in the Far East and Europe. Meanwhile, INEOS Oxide’s performance was mixed. The demand for ethylene oxide in Europe held up but it had been offset by slow demand for glycols, especially in Asia. INEOS Olefins & Polymers North America reported EBITDA of €132 million compared to €163 million for the same quarter last year and €175m compared to Q1. The business had continued to benefit from the use of cheaper gas feedstock, which meant it could maintain good margins, and resulting in another record quarterly performance (before inventory holding losses). The American cracker business environment continued to strengthen with lower feedstock costs, boosting cracker operating margins during the quarter. And Polymer demand remained solid overall, with derivative exports filling the gap from weaker domestic demand as gas crackers remain very competitive globally. One of the crackers at Chocolate Bayou had a scheduled turnaround during the quarter, which was completed successfully. INEOS Olefins & Polymers Europe reported EBITDA of €57 million compared to €146 million for the same quarter last year and €57 million compared to Q1. Demand for olefins was moderate, with butadiene continuing to perform well. The large decreases in naphtha prices led to healthy cracker margins throughout the second quarter. But volumes had decreased with some customers destocking. The cracker at Rafnes, Norway, completed a major scheduled turnaround during the second quarter. Polymer demand was subdued, though, as customers anticipated lower prices in the wake of weakening oil and naphtha prices. Softness in the commodity polymer markets also resulted in low margins. In May 2012 the Group successfully issued $775 million Senior Secured Notes due in 2020 and a new Senior Secured Term Loan totalling $3,025 million. The net proceeds had been used to repay all of the remaining indebtedness under the Senior Facilities Agreement, together with accrued PIK interest and associated issue costs. John said INEOS Group would continue to focus on cash management and liquidity. INEOS’ net debt was €6.55 billion at the end of
June 2012. Cash balances at the end of the second quarter were €1,247 million, and availability under undrawn working capital facilities was €200 million. Net debt leverage was around 4.9 times as at the end of June 2012.

    16 minutes read Issue 3
  • Safety First

    Last year INEOS’ safety record improved from 0.25 classified injuries per 100,000 hours to 0.21. It was the fourth year in a row that the company had been able to show continuous improvement. Steve Yee, Business Safety Health & Environment Manager, takes a look at the company’s approach. Communication works for those who work at it; so said British composer John Powell who has written the scores to more than 50 films. And in terms of its communication of safety, it’s an area in which INEOS excels. Some would say it’s become somewhat of an obsession, but with exceptionally good reason. INEOS operates in a hazardous business with potential to cause harm if control is not of the highest standards. This is why no job will ever be seen on its sites as so important that anyone’s wellbeing should be put at risk. And ‘anyone’ includes those living or working close to INEOS’ plants. Steve Yee is the man responsible for collating the Group’s safety reports. “If there’s an incident on any one of our sites, I will know about it,” he said. He often compares INEOS’ safety performance with similar chemical companies around the world. “Our ultimate goal is not to harm people, so understanding the statistics is only part of the solution to help us to achieve this goal. Understanding how to keep the chemicals inside the process is key to our business.” “What the figures do tell us, though, is that we can never become complacent, improvements are always achievable. It takes a long time to improve the safety performance and a short time for it to fall back. We can never take our eye off the ball for a second.” Last year, INEOS’ safety record improved from 0.25 classified injuries per 100,000 hours to 0.21. It was the fourth year in a row that the company had been able to show continuous improvement and it reflected the hard work and commitment that exists at every level to prevent accidents. Steve said, looking at human factors at work – and identifying how we can work on them to improve was a major focus of last year. “Most of our injuries are not chemically related,” he said. “Most are slips, trips or falls.” “Our performance is very good but we can never become complacent. If we are to continuously improve we must all critically assess what we do, avoid taking short-cuts and do the right thing even if it takes a little longer. It is about changing behaviours so that we all become increasingly more careful.” Key principles that will set the standard across the company – 10 based on human factors which we have named behavioural safety and 10 on process safety – these principles are all based on learning from incidents or ‘near miss’ safety alerts. Process safety The asset operating manager is responsible for its overall integrity The asset engineers are responsible for maintaining the asset and protective systems’ integrity The responsibilities in the organisation for defining and maintaining the correct operating envelopes must be clea Operating procedures and envelopes must be observed. Deviations must be reported and investigated Any changes must be properly risk assessed and subjected to MOC procedures Process hazards are systematically identified, risk assessed, reviewed and managed All assets must be subject to periodic inspection designed to ensure their integrity and the reliability of their protective systems Operations must always place the safe operation or shutdown of the asset ahead of production When in doubt the asset must always be taken to its safest state We have emergency plans based on assessed risks which are regularly tested Human factors We believe all incidents and injuries can be prevented Everyone’s first responsibility is to ensure they work safely Everyone has the duty to stop work if they feel the situation is unsafe The expectations and standards are the same for everyone on the site Rules and procedures must be observed and respected We should look out for each other’s safety and unsafe situations All injuries and incidents / near misses must be reported and investigated Risk assessment must be carried out prior to, during and on completion of work All team leaders have a special responsibility for promoting and upholding these principles We must always work within the limit of our competency and training Changing our behaviours, though, isn’t as easy as it sounds. “It can take years to change it but you can lose it within six months because people will do what they have always done,” he said. “People are human.” At INEOS, we expect the same high standards for everyone, whether they are employees, contractors or visitors. Not unlike the rest of the chemical industry we see a different incidence compared with employees. Over the years we have seen improvement, but we still wish to improve upon that. Like all Chemical majors, INEOS tracks and reports more than is required by local laws. “We see each ‘near miss’ as a warning sign, and a source of valuable information that we can learn from, whether it is in INEOS or in other companies,” said Steve. “We continuously improve our systems with the help of ‘near miss’ reports. By tracking, monitoring and sharing these across the Group, information from all ‘near misses’ helps to prevent actual incidents from happening. It is pretty obvious really. Waiting for accidents to happen is just not an option for us.” “Each incident that is serious or has content that is good for learning is reported as a SHE Alert and the findings are then issued to all businesses within the Group.” “These SHE (safety, health and environmental) Alerts could potentially help to avert similar problems at another site.” Improving Safety is a commitment that starts with INEOS Capital, through the Boards of each business and throughout the organisation. There is a chain of command through each business that ensures, by the end of the process, that every single employee will have been kept in the loop. “Each INEOS business is clearly accountable for its performance,” said Steve. “A lot of big companies operate in a different way to us. Other Chemical Companies may take a lot of direction and auditing from a central SHE organisation. My belief is that if you do that then you take away the responsibility and accountability from the people that can make the improvements. That won’t work.” So, as INEOS seeks to continue its improving trend and better 2011 performance, it is rolling out one of its most ambitious projects to date. To drive improvements in safety performance, Tony Traynor, the INEOS Group Operations Director led an initiative of the INEOS process safety management team to develop two sets of 10 key principles that will set the standard across the company – 10 based on human factors which we have named behavioural safety and 10 on process safety – these principles are all based on actual incidents or ‘near miss’ SHE Alerts. “They are based on best practice from across INEOS and from other chemical companies from around the world. We have taken a massive amount of information and consolidated it into something that people will understand and that will help us to go beyond the excellent performance we have seen this year.” When asked if 20 is too many, Steve is pretty clear. “I don’t think so. They are what they are. These key principles come from the knowledge we have acquired over the years, we believe they cover all incidents. Had someone followed these principles then all of the incidents we have seen in the past few years, be they INEOS or other companies could have been prevented. So I believe it is the right number.” Part of the problem for the chemical industry is, though, the perception of the public. It is just the way it is, hich is why we work hard to make sure that our local communities understand us and how our safety and environmental performance is continuously improving. “Most chemical incidents, large or small, make the headlines. Yet the chemical sector safety performance is far better than many other industries. That is a fact.” “Looking at the injury rates across many other manufacturing industries the chemicals sector is by far one of the best performers. Don’t get me wrong, there is always room for improvement. For me, even a single injury across the whole sector is an injury that could have been prevented.” “I know I can sleep at night because each of the Business Boards monitor the safety systems, procedures, people and emergency responses are all designed (and continuously checked) to keep the risk levels low. If there is a deviation from that I would see it in the safety reporting.”

    12 minutes read Issue 2
  • Independent Thinking

    INEOS does business differently to others and it pays, especially when it comes to how the business is financed, as the first part of its refinancing deal – sewn up at the end of February – showed. John Reece, Finance Director, takes a look at INEOS financing and 2011 performance. VIDEO Sometimes it pays to be different Much has been written in the world’s media over the years about INEOS and its borrowing, but very little is written about the scale of the organisation, its growth, turnover or earnings (EBITDA). Yet INEOS’ business model has shown itself time and time again to work very well. It is absolutely right for a commodity chemicals business and means the company remains very much in control of its own destiny. In short, it is not answerable to short-term demands of public shareholders. John Reece says, “INEOS has always had a choice in how it chooses to fund its business. It could look for finance in the equity market or continue to use the debt market. The difference is that one gives INEOS control; the other doesn’t.” “To finance INEOS in the equity market would mean we would have to do an IPO,” he said. “And that would mean we would be faced with the typical IPO cycle – each quarter needs to be better than the previous quarter because that is what equity analysts and investors are looking for.” “And that is very difficult for a cyclical commodity chemical business, like ours, where we are more focused on long-term growth rather than quarter to quarter progression.” Instead INEOS has always taken the view that if the debt markets are open – and the prices are attractive – then it is a better and more efficient way to finance its business. And it’s worked well. INEOS has been operating that way for the past 14 years. At the end of February, INEOS successfully refinanced a large chunk of its borrowing a year before it needed to. The response from the financial market was better than expected. INEOS had hoped to raise about $1 billion in the bond market but the response from investors was so positive that INEOS decided to increase the amount it intended to refinance because the pricing was so attractive. “You do have to pick your timing but confidence in INEOS was high and we had very strong demand,” he said. Most of INEOS’ borrowing is from financial institutions and funds. It stems from 2005 when it took out a series of loans to buy the Innovene business from BP. Many of those loans are now coming to maturity over the next few years. INEOS’ big goal for this year is to refinance the remainder of its borrowing (or senior facilities agreement) which amounts to around €2.4bn – when the time is right.  “That’s certainly the plan,” said John. “We are obviously focused on the cost of the borrowing and we are trying to make sure we do it in a way that reduces our interest cost over time.” “But you really have to take advantage of the credit markets when they are there because they are very cyclical.” He said the improving US economy had helped the credit markets in America get off to a great start – and that’s why INEOS had gone out there at the end of January and refinanced the earliest slice of the debt which would have matured in 2013. We now have no significant term debt maturing until 2014.  Financing a business the way INEOS does, though, would not suit every business. “For a business that is cyclical and that has to be managed over a long time horizon, then it fits very well,” said John. “For other businesses where the objectives are different perhaps, such as a private equity-backed business looking for an IPO exit, it might be different.” John said INEOS would only ever consider changing the way it financed the business if the credit markets closed. “If we could not refinance the borrowing then that would be something we would have to think about but it’s hopefully unlikely to happen,” he said. A game of two halves - 2011 financial performance The year 2011 turned into a game of two halves for INEOS; the company had a strong first half, with two record quarters but after the summer Q3 was significantly slower and Q4 ended up as a very weak quarter. As a company, INEOS expects ups and downs that mirror the global economy. Most recently that has been difficult to predict from one quarter to the next, particularly in Europe. But the main reasons for the weaker second half lay outside of INEOS’ control. Apart from losses due to operational difficulties with the feedstock supply in Grangemouth, Scotland, and problems with a contractor in Koln, Germany, the company was hit hard by the Euro crisis and China’s decision to apply the brakes. “The trading environment in Q4 2011 was challenging,” said John Reece. “The global economic and political uncertainties did affect demand in a number of sectors.”  “And the Chinese government’s action definitely suppressed demand for some of our products in the Far East which led to declining product prices.” America, though, was a different story. While the Euro crisis affected businesses across the continent with many buyers seeking to reduce stockholdings – which, in turn, led to weakening demand and reduced operating rates – INEOS North American businesses were able to maintain its good margins because it continued to benefit from using cheaper gas feedstocks and an economy that was growing in confidence. Trading conditions were solid in North America and its margins remained above mid-cycle. Ethylene derivatives also remained competitive in export markets.  Overall, though, 2011 was a good year, with INEOS Group EBITDA at £1.7 billion – slightly up on the previous year.  And so far this year INEOS is doing well.  “The trading environment at the start of 2012 has improved significantly in comparison to Q4,” said John. “Over the entire business, the four-week moving average of weekly order volumes for the first four weeks of January was the highest it has been over the past five years.”  INEOS Olefins & Polymers North America’s margins have benefited from the increase in the price of polyethylene, the decline in the cost of ethane and a tightening supply position caused by a heavy plant turnaround season in the industry. All INEOS Olefins & Polymers Europe’s plants are running well and achieved substantial sales price increases in February. In chemical intermediates, all four major businesses have also encountered improved trading conditions. Phenol sales are 20% higher than December with improving margins from tight markets. Nitriles’ plant operating rates have risen from about 60% in Q4 to almost 100% in February, with prices continuing to move upwards in all regions and demand recovery continuing with supply limited by a heavy turnaround season.  Market conditions for the Oxide business continue to improve too and Oligomers remains solid with good volumes and firm margins. “It is encouraging,” said John “It puts us in a good position to go back to the markets later this year to complete our refinancing.”

    15 minutes read Issue 2
  • INEOS Capital

    Jim Ratcliffe, chairman of INEOS, talks candidly to Tom Crotty, director INEOS Group, about 2011 and the first few months of 2012. jim ratcliffe-video TC: We last met in November when you explained that, although the year had started well, by the end of it demand had softened, on the back of uncertainty in Europe. Did the year end as you had expected? JR: Yes. It was a quiet Q4 because of the Euro crisis and China’s decision to tighten its belt and all our businesses saw orders dry up. There was a lot of de-stocking going on around the world. We had similar Q4s in both 2009 and 2010 so it wasn’t a disaster, more of a disappointment because the first half had been outstanding. But the chemicals’ business does go up and down. We all know that. Over the course of the four quarters of 2011 it all balanced out to be a very comfortable year for us and Q1 of this year has started strongly. People are restocking and generally demand has picked up. America is going well and China has loosened its belt again. All in all we are quite pleased with Q1. TC: How was the safety performance for the year? JR: On the personal safety front we had a record year. Our safety statistic was .2 or .21, which was the best we’ve ever seen. That, in itself, was very good but more importantly we have seen four years of progress, which shows that the systems we have put in place are working well. We can safely say that we are probably now in the top decile of the chemical industry. But we know that Exxon is at 0.16 and we are at 0.21, which means we can always get better, that improvements can always be made until we get it to zero. The other aspect is process safety, which is more difficult to measure than personal safety because statistically there is not as much happening. But we scrutinise very carefully loss of containment, and any loss is always discussed at length in board meetings. We look very carefully at the SHE critical trips and alarms so that if we ever get to the last line of defence, or there is ever an issue with one of these chemical processes, we can do something to prevent a major problem. TC: In January you went to the financial markets to refinance borrowing. What was the response from potential investors? JR: Surprisingly good. January was still a particularly difficult month because we were coming out of the Euro crisis, people weren’t too sure because the Chinese had not come back from their New Year celebrations and, although we had seen some very positive signs coming out of America, we were still a little uncertain about how we would be received in the marketplace. But we were heavily over-subscribed. We were raising just less than $1billion but we saw over $5 billion of appetite. In the end we took out just over $1.6 billion. But one of our exercises for the rest of the year is to completely refinance the business. TC: Why was the demand to invest in INEOS so high? JR: Well, apart from the fact that they liked us obviously, and the presentations went well, INEOS has made a lot of issuances over the years. It has never let anyone down. We were severely tested in the crisis in 2008 and we obviously passed that test in the worst recession for the past 30 or 40 years. Since then, investors have done very little investing and now sit on a lot of cash. They know that if they put their money on deposit, they will earn almost nothing so they are looking for ways to invest it. The bonds that we issue are paying 8% so they see INEOS as a good risk. And so far – over many years – our bonds have always performed well. Obviously they go up and down. If you have a crisis, bonds dip down but they have always come back and we have never defaulted. INEOS’ performance has always been strong apart from Q4 of 2011, but the first half of 2011 was the strongest we’d ever seen it so we have obviously bounced back from the recession well and our vision for 2012 is quite positive. All in all it was a very, very good result and we were delighted. TC: Did it come as a surprise? JR: We were pleasantly surprised. But we thought it would go quite well, otherwise we would not have gone out there in the first place. There is an awful expression in America (sorry to all the US readers) called a ‘blowout deal’. It does not sit well within the English language but it was a ‘blowout deal’. Most of the money we raised was in the United States, in a market that is very strong. People are thinking very positively in America right now. TC: What does that now mean for the business? JR: As you know we want to finish the refinancing. It is a thing that you do in bite-sized pieces because it is too much to do all in one go so we hope to be out there again in the first half of this year to complete the process. It just means that we will have a very settled balance sheet. We want to address the issues that arose in 2008 and 2009. I am sure people will remember that we finished up with some fairly severe penalties effectively from the financial markets because of what happened in the crisis, which was caused by the banks. The banks obviously have the powers to inflict some quite hefty penalties on INEOS so we have to take ourselves away from that. Through the refinancing all of those penalties disappear. TC: Do you see any change in the INEOS model – as a privately-owned group of businesses chemicals company? JR: No. I don’t think so. It is steady as she goes. TC: Are the joint ventures that we established last year working well? JR: Although Styrolution had a very quiet Q4, it had a good year overall. Like INEOS, it has also enjoyed a good first quarter, so it has started the year all guns blazing. The Refining market in Europe has still not settled down following the 2008/2009 crisis. We still need to see more capacity coming out. Some capacity has come out as Petroplus collapsed a few months ago, although some people are still toying with the idea of rescuing some of those components, which to us looks ridiculous, but it is a very difficult business to predict. In January, Refining had quite a good month but then February has been quite difficult. We need more time for it to settle down and for the supply and demand to balance out. TC: What is your focus for the business this year? JR: Number one is without doubt to complete the refinancing, which hopefully will go well. Then, I think our focus is largely on two areas of growth for INEOS. Firstly we have shale gas in America which is opening up a lot of opportunities. Quite a lot of our time, attention and focus are spent thinking about whether we wish to take advantage of any of those opportunities. The second growth story in INEOS is China where there is a lot of interest being shown in our intermediates businesses. China has invested in its upstream, what we would describe as O&P businesses, so lots of crackers and polymer plants have been – and are still being – built in China. But China has not really moved into the intermediates area which is one step downstream of the upstream petrochemicals and INEOS has some very interesting businesses in Phenol and Acrylonitrile, Oligomers, Oxide, and some of our technologies businesses. TC: In November, you said that there will always be ups and downs in business. How can INEOS ensure that it continues to do well despite such uncertainty? JR: There are no easy recipes or guarantees. We know that our businesses are cyclical and there will be ups and downs. All you can do is be sure that you are as fit as you can be and that your fixed costs are very competitive so that, at the bottom of the cycle, we don’t see any negatives on the P&L account. That means we have to have low fixed costs big units, we have to have efficient and reliable units, and efficient technology. A lot of that was road tested during the crisis in 2008/2009. Since then we have shut one or two things down and we have sold one or two things, so what you see in the INEOS portfolio today is a pretty lean and fit portfolio of assets and plants. TC: And lastly, how is the team doing? I am referring, of course, to Manchester United. JR: You had to spoil things. For those of you who are reading – or listening – you may know that Tom is also a fan of Manchester United. This part of the interview could last longer than the rest of the interview put together once I start. I mean we really are flattered by the appalling performance of the rest of the league in England. They are all hopeless – Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal are hopeless. All of the good players seem to have left the UK. United is sitting at the top of the tree but we have had to bring Paul Scholes back into midfield. He’s 38 and we have had to bring him back into midfield. Barcelona has got eight or nine Paul Scholes and they are all 24 or 25 so we really are flattered. It is no surprise to me that we dropped out of the Champions League, and the rest of the English League has dropped out of the Champions League. I don’t know what has happened. It’s all very depressing. You have completely ruined the interview Tom.

    10 minutes read Issue 2
  • Takes on the world

    Manfred Hartung, Leiter Instandhaltungsservice at INEOS Koln, has watched his son Max grow into a world-class swordsman over the years, but, in watching, he has also learned so much about managing teams, leadership and responsibility. Former American boxer Muhammad Ali said that champions weren’t made in gyms. They are, he said, made from something they have deep inside them – a desire, a dream, a vision. Max Hartung has a desire, a dream, a vision – to bring home a gold Olympic medal for Germany. If he does, no one will be more proud than his father, Manfred, Leiter Instandhaltungsservice at INEOS Koln, who learned shortly after his son took up fencing that he should never judge a book by its cover. “Max was a rather awkward child and sometimes teased because he had to wear glasses,” he said. “My wife and I thought he would be hopeless at fencing because he seemed so uncoordinated.” “And I remember smiling when his coach said it would actually work to his advantage. He told us that his opponents would underestimate him.” Manfred and his wife Roswitha listened but still weren’t convinced, so when it came to forking out for all the equipment, they bought Max second-hand kit. “Max wore a girl’s fencing jacket which looked a bit out of place, but he wasn’t bothered,” said Manfred. Max, then just aged nine and battling with foam swords, repaid them by starting to win tournaments. In February this year their 22-year-old son qualified for the London Olympics. He will be part of the four-man sabre team (fencing), who, if they win, will go down in history as the first German sabre team to ever win an Olympic medal. Only three of the team, though, will be able to compete as individuals. The fourth will be the substitute. Manfred said Max was determined not to be on the substitute’s bench. Their coach is German national sabre trainer, Vilmo Szabo. “His vision was to turn a team of young men and women into Olympic and world champions,” said Manfred. “So far, he’s produced six world champions.” Manfred, who will be in London for the Olympics, says he will be nervous watching his son take on the world’s best. But it helps knowing that Max has developed an inner peace and confidence over the years. “If you cannot cope with pressure in this kind of sport, you need to get out because fencing is very dangerous,” he said. It is a danger Max is well aware of, having been stabbed during a training session many years ago. “The sword went straight through his arm,” said Manfred. “Thankfully Max survived without any significant scars, either mental or physical.” “He never worries about getting hurt.” Over the years, Manfred has watched his son grow into a world-class swordsman but remains modest about the part he and his wife have played in his success. “Probably the greatest gifts we have given our son are our love and the freedom to grow,” he said. “He, on the other hand, has been my role model and helped me enormously in how I do my job at INEOS in Köln.” Manfred said he had learned so much from Max about managing teams, leadership and responsibility. “As a leader you have to provide a framework that allows your employees to make decisions on their own,” he said. “It not only makes them more accountable for their own actions but it increases their self-confidence and belief and makes them feel proud of their achievements.” Manfred said they were the fundamental building blocks for any successful company. “On top of it, though, you do need to have someone who believes in you and your abilities and is willing to encourage you to achieve even greater things,” he said. “Over the past 10 years I have realised that if you have a vision, the right set-up and the right people beside you, you can achieve anything.”

    7 minutes read Issue 2
  • Unlocking Potential

    Finding people who understand a company’s ethos is key to any organisation that wants to grow and prosper in today’s competitive world. But sometimes, that’s not as easy as it sounds. INEOS, though, has always viewed a problem as an opportunity to improve, which is why its search for the best starts early. People can make – or break – an organisation or a situation. One only has to look at the incident where the captain of the Costa Concordia allegedly abandoned his ship, leaving his passengers and crew to fend for themselves after his cruise liner crashed into rocks off the Italian coast and capsized. It’s why finding people who, not only understand your company’s ethos, but practise it by example, is vital. That is why INEOS constantly takes steps to ensure a continuous supply of highly-skilled, highly-disciplined and motivated employees who acknowledge their responsibilities and are prepared to leave nothing to chance. And the search starts early. In primary schools, colleges and science fairs. “We are continually seeking new candidates and training our own people,” said Patrick Giefers, site manager at INEOS Köln. VIDEO The reason is simple: INEOS knows it pays to invest in the best. It is an approach that is recognised by potential candidates in and around the Köln site. Andreas Hain, head of apprentice training at the German site, said every year 2,000 young people apply for about 60 jobs. “Our apprentice scheme is very successful and we have no problem filling those jobs with very good quality people,” he said. “We can focus on what we need, the professions we need and the personality of people we would like to have in the company,” he said. In Germany, it works. In the UK, though, there is still a shortage of suitably qualified young people keen to pursue a career in the petrochemicals industry. “There is never a shortage of applications for apprenticeships in towns where INEOS operates,” said Tom Crotty, Director INEOS Group. “It’s very easy. Families have grown up working there and know it is a sound company that provides a good source of income so we are flooded with applications.” The problem – recently identified by Hans Niederberger, the man who used to run the plant in Köln – is the calibre of British students. “He found there was a world of difference in the quality of the young engineers,” said Tom. “They were academically bright but lacked the practical skills necessary for the job.” To bridge that gap – and to satisfy the demand for young skilled workers at the Grangemouth refinery in Scotland – INEOS has joined forces with Forth Valley College and Heriot Watt University. Together they have launched ‘Engineers of the Future’, a five-year modern apprenticeship scheme that gives each student a full university education plus substantial and, more importantly, relevant work experience. VIDEO2: Grange “It creates a work-ready person when they leave university as opposed to the traditional route where really the industry learning starts from day one,” said Gordon Grant, CEO INEOS Grangemouth services and infrastructure. He said the skills gap – identified by INEOS – was not unique to INEOS. “It is a shortage that we see across the whole of the petrochemical industry and, in fact, the technology industries throughout the UK,” he said. He said he had been working closely with the Scottish Government and skills development agency to promote the INEOS model. “It is one they should be considering for other industries and promoting the benefits of it,” he said. “For this model of combining university and college education with workplace experience is something that has advantages for everyone involved.” Of course, the concept of work experience placements, as part of a university education, is nothing new. But what sets this apart is the thinking behind it. “To have stopped and thought about what experience individuals get, and link it directly into their classroom learning throughout the programme is quite innovative,” said Robin Westacott, director of the Engineers of the Future programme. Forth Valley College runs two programmes. One is vocational; the other is academic. In addition, college lecturers also explore INEOS’ values, especially on safety. “We want them to understand INEOS’ culture so that when they go down to the site to do their on-site training, that culture is already embedded,” said Kenny MacInnes, deputy head of engineering at Forth Valley College. The students are equally as enthusiastic about the programme as INEOS. “You get paid on the job, you get the hands-on skills that people at university don’t get and you also get experience on the site as well,” said one. Another loved the fact that he already had an edge over his peers even before he had graduated. “You already know a lot more than a typical graduate,” he said. And that is its aim. “Hopefully we will see more and more of these schemes coming into place for technology industries to produce a high calibre workforce for the future,” said Gordon.

    16 minutes read Issue 2
  • Cogent idea to attract new talent

    INEOS is now indirectly helping small companies find first-class apprentices – through Tom Crotty. Tom recently became chairman of Cogent, a group of leading businessmen empowered to raise standards in the chemicals, pharmaceuticals, nuclear, oil and gas, petroleum and polymer industries, and expand opportunities for young people in the UK. “The problem isn’t in the big companies because they can afford to employ apprentices and train them,” he said. “But if you are a small engineering company, you might feel it’s too risky to take on an apprentice, so instead you find a 35-year-old who works down the road.” “With Cogent’s support, he hoped that would change.” “Cogent would employ the apprentices on a three-year programme,” he said. “The company would bear half the cost but they would not have the headache of employing the individual.” “And if they didn’t like them, we would find them someone else.” Tom said Cogent’s brief would include convincing school-leavers about the value of apprenticeships. “We need to get rid of the perception that apprenticeships mean mud on your boots or oil in your hair,” he said. Rising university fees were concentrating the minds of young people to appreciate that gaining skills in an industry was a clear path to a career and a prosperous future, said Tom. Cogent is the Sector Skills Council for the chemicals, pharmaceuticals, nuclear, oil and gas, petroleum and polymer industries. In the past, skills councils were awarded a fixed amount of money by the Government. Now they have to bid for it. And Cogent is so far faring very well.

    4 minutes read Issue 2
  • UK needs clear, long-term energy policy to safeguard future of manufacturing

    INEOS continues to have a significant presence in the UK, with around 4,000 employees across six sites. The company remains committed to its established manufacturing base but is concerned that the business environment does not support the needs of competitive international business. Tom Crotty, Director INEOS Group, believes firstly Britain needs a clear, long-term energy policy if it is to stop the rot – and safeguard the future of manufacturing in the UK. He says short-term thinking has already done significant damage. “At the moment there is not a lot of joined-up thinking,” he said. “But things need to improve if the UK is to reverse the trend of the past 10 years.” “Without a sound manufacturing base, the country cannot generate wealth, and without wealth generation, we cannot raise Government spending to maintain our schools and hospitals.” He said, the countries that had fared best – Germany and Scandinavia – had invested heavily in manufacturing. Those, which hadn’t – Greece, Spain and Ireland – had foolishly relied upon the service industry instead. Tom said the British Government and the energy industry needed to develop a coherent industrial policy so that everyone knew which sectors had to be maintained at all costs. “That’s the most important thing and it is going to be critical,” he said. “If we have a long-term stable energy policy, industry can deliver against that.” “At the moment we are lucky if we have policies that survive one term of government.” Tom also urged successive UK governments to avoid imposing even more regulations – be they home-grown or forced through by the European Union – on an industry already drowning under the sheer weight of legislation. He said the Germans and French had got it right. “They interpret EU regulations differently to us,” he said. “They impose the regulations in a way that they protect their industries.” “I think we need to examine the impact of all EU regulation on our industry before blindly implementing it.” Between 1997 and 2007 the UK’s manufacturing industry as a percentage of GDP effectively halved, falling from 22% to 11%. Germany’s – on the other hand – has barely been affected and about 50% of its energy still comes from coal. During a recent dinner with the UK Government’s Business Secretary Vince Cable, Tom was asked what one thing the Coalition Government could do to help Britain’s manufacturing industry. “I suggested a time machine so we could go back 20 years,” he said. But Tom believes the mood may be changing. “I think the downturn showed up sharply what needs to be done,” he said.

    6 minutes read Issue 2
  • Refreshing Talent

    INEOS’ campaign to recruit America’s top graduates is paying dividends. Graduates in the US know that if they get a job with INEOS Olefins & Polymers USA they will be given a challenging role with responsibility and accountability – very early on. And the news is spreading. “Top graduates are demanding more meaningful jobs and roles. They have a new perspective and expectation that we can tap into straightaway,” said Sam Scheiner, HR Director INEOS Olefins & Polymers USA. “The first thing that we do is put our graduates into meaningful roles tackling real challenges from day one. Our newly- hired graduates don’t find themselves in a run-of-the-mill development course or staff job.” “Putting our graduates into meaningful jobs, working with experienced employees, allows them to reach a fuller potential and make a significant contribution to the business much more quickly.” Bill Steiner, who joined INEOS as a chemical engineering graduate from Georgia Tech University almost five years ago, acknowledged the difference. “I immediately had a lot of responsibility and I was able to make an impact very early on,” he said. The number of US graduates, employed by Olefins & Polymers USA, varies each year. How many depends on the business’ needs. O&P USA launched its graduate recruitment drive six years ago. Since then, 35 college graduates, mostly with degrees in engineering, finance or chemistry, have joined the business. “It is also important to note that most of them – 30 in all in the Houston area – are still working for the company, in a market where a high turnover is common,” said Sam. “It means we have something people want and are staying on to get it.” “Our graduates know that their work is critical to the organisation. And word is getting around. We are building the INEOS reputation year-on-year at universities that we work closely with.” Most of the graduates – and there is always stiff competition among companies for the best in the US – are drawn from core and tried-and-tested universities in Texas and neighbouring Louisiana. What all these universities and colleges have in common is that they all have close links or ties to INEOS through employees who are alumni of these institutions. “It is important to us that we have a strong relationship with the universities from where we recruit,” said Sam. Olefins & Polymers USA regularly attends job fairs to raise its profile among the universities, and, in turn, among the students. “That is so important to us,” said Sam. “And it’s one of the reasons that we put such a lot of time and effort into getting it right.” “Getting the right graduates is fundamental to the whole process. We want the right people with the right fit for our business who will flourish and grow in an exciting and challenging environment such as ours.” Olefins & Polymers USA has dedicated recruiting teams at each university. “This allows us to ‘get a feel’ early on for who is right for the company,” said Sam. Each team draws up a short-list and interviews the candidates at the universities before deciding who to invite to a two-day ‘super recruiting session’ at Marina View where the potential employees are taken on a tour of either INEOS’ Chocolate Bayou or Battleground site. “Potential graduates also get exposure to the CEO and the Board Directors of our company when they visit our sites,” said Sam. Dennis Seith, CEO for O&P USA, said the recruiting process was in keeping with how INEOS ran its business. “Our approach is different to our competitors,” he said. “Because we are a flat organisation, access to senior management is not only possible, it is common. It allows new hires to develop skills in working with senior managers and I believe it shortens the time it takes for top talent to be recognized.” “That’s good for INEOS because we get the most from our graduates. But it is also good for our graduates because they get challenged early on, rather than being weighed down with bureaucracy.” The College Recruiting campaign has allowed INEOS to positively shape its own future. “In short, we have been able to establish a talent pipeline,” said Sam. “We have brought in and developed some terrific people who, no doubt, will be the leaders of our business in the future.” “Generally the petrochemical industry has to build on its expertise and knowledge base if it is to survive in highly competitive world markets.” “If we are to grow a sustainable long-term business, which is aimed at meeting the needs of society well into the future, it is essential that we have a rich source of talent that we can tap into.” “The long-term future of our business depends on the work we are putting in today to get the right people into our organisation to continue to shape our culture and secure the success of the INEOS business as a whole. And I think we are getting a pretty good return on our investment.”

    10 minutes read Issue 2
  • Shift the Focus: How shift workers can make life easier

    Shift work is a fact of life for millions of people around the world. But those who keep businesses afloat 24-hours-a-day can do more than they realize to make their lives easier, healthier and happier. Shift work is nothing new – as those who work in manufacturing will tell you. Where some continuous production processes can take days to start up and shut down, it is just not practical to operate a regular 9-5. Today, more and more people work shifts to cope with society’s 24/7 demands and needs. The crucial thing is how best to cope with shift work, to make the transition from days to nights and back again whilst maintaining normal energy levels. Steve Gasser, who has been an operator at INEOS Joffre LAO plant for eight years, is one of 35 operators who looks after the day-to-day operations of the plant. He said his experience had shown that shift work affects different people in different ways. “The older you get the more difficult it becomes for your body to adjust to shift work,” he said. “It can affect your energy levels, how you think and feel physically. Both at work and at home.” “Some rotations are better than others. Winters here are the most difficult because of the limited daylight and cold weather.” The experience is not uncommon. It is very similar to jet lag. But employees can do more than they think to manage the body’s internal clock by watching what they eat and drink, getting good quality sleep and taking exercise. Steve, who has worked shifts on and off for 25 years, says most shift workers avoid caffeine and energy drinks, quickly learn to be able to sleep whenever they get the opportunity and often exercise. Dr Adam Carey, Founder and Director of Corperformance, gives his advice. “In recent years, researchers have also found that certain types of food eaten at specific times can actually reduce the impact of changing time zones (jet lag) by up to 70% and much of this is applicable to changing shifts,” he said. “Eating more food, which is high in protein, makes people more alert and meals that are high in carbohydrates encourages sleep because of the hormones the foods produce.” “When diet is combined with exercise and good quality sleep in a cool, well darkened place, the impact can be dramatic.” There are a number of things that individuals, who are switching from working days to nights, already do. To reduce the impact of the first night, they often try to go to bed much later than usual – for example 2am – so that they sleep in and get up later than usual on their first day of nights, hopefully closer to 11am or even noon. “Nutritionists have also found that reducing the body’s sugar reserves before the switch can help,” said Adam. “In our experience, though, it must be done at least 24 hours before any changeover in shift.” “We would advise an employee to cut out carbohydrates on the last day of his day shift change and eat protein-based meals instead.” “That essentially would mean no bread, rice, pasta, root vegetables, grains, sweets, chocolates biscuits and cakes on that day.” “On waking on the first day of nights, an employee should eat very lightly during the day and before starting the shift. Any meal should be high in protein and low in carbohydrates.” “During the shift – and to stay alert – all meals and snacks should again be high in protein and low in carbohydrates.” “It is also, though, very important to drink plenty of water.” “Many people get tired and suffer from poor concentration, solely because they are slightly dehydrated.” “At the end of the night shift, a spot of exercise can be helpful before eating a meal that is high in carbohydrates and low in protein, such as pasta, because that releases the hormone that helps one to sleep.” Adam also advises on getting good quality sleep and says where you sleep is critical. “Many people sleep in rooms that are just too hot,” he said. “But it is very important to get your core body temperature to drop slightly. If the room or bedding stop you from keeping cool, then it will be more difficult to get to sleep, or stay asleep, even when tired.” Misti Jezek, shift operator team leader at INEOS’ Chocolate Bayou Works’ polypropylene manufacturing plant, has worked shifts for almost 19 years. She always makes sure her bedroom is quiet, cold and dark. “I’ve actually found that I sleep best if the air conditioning unit is running because it blocks outside sounds,” she said. “Any room should be a maximum of 16oC (69oF) – even better between 12 – 14oC (53oF – 57oF). After a good sleep, it’s important to drink plenty of water and then eat well.” “If in winter it is getting dark when you are supposed to be getting up, a timed light can be effective and will help you wake up more naturally,” said Adam. “Bright lights at work are also important.” At the end of the four days of working nights, people tend to use one of two strategies. They either go home and sleep briefly, but get up earlier, or they try not to sleep and go to bed early. Either way, once awake, try to exercise, eat a meal that is high in protein and avoid starchy foods. When it is time to sleep, eating a starch-based meal will increase the chance of falling asleep. Someone who does this is Kenneth Cockheijt, a young chemical field process operator based at Antwerp. “I work out quite often in the gym, or ride my bike if possible, so that I’m always sleepy when I need to be,” he said. If he does ever struggle to get to sleep, he finds listening to music helps. He also watches his diet, changing what he eats to give him extra energy when he needs it. Working environments are rarely perfect, but managing your diet and taking exercise will not only make you a happier and healthier individual, but they will also ensure you can make the most of your time when you are at home. And that has always been important to Misti who started working shifts when her daughter was three. “Working shifts has given me a lot more opportunities through the years to attend my daughter’s school parties and events than most parents who work a strict day schedule,” she said. What shift workers can do to make life easier? Eat high protein meals before work to make you more alert Eat meals, which are high in carbohydrates, before bedtime Sleep in a cool, dark room. The room should be a maximum of 16oC Exercise where possible Drink plenty of water

    12 minutes read Issue 2
  • Managing Teams

    Understanding how teams work and enhancing performance is not just valuable on the sports field. Here Dr Phil Hopley explains why it is directly relevant to many of things we all do every day. Winners – whether they work in an office, a factory, a control room or are world-class athletes – are not born. They are made. It is understandable that some remain cynical. They feel that they have nothing in common with elite athletes. That elite athletes have no relevance to how they do their jobs or manage their teams. But how often do other business leaders look out of their offices over to the track and field for inspiration to help them enhance their own and the performance of others? Check out Sir Steve Redgrave, Sir Clive Woodward, or Sir Alex Ferguson’s diaries and you will find your answer. Very often. Why is that? A chance for stressed executives to escape from the office? Business leaders living their unfulfilled sporting dreams? Or could it actually be that elite sportsmen offer an insight into a world where being the best in their field matters and, in turn, teach businesses some valuable lessons? Listen to any great sportsmen talk and you will hear compelling evidence of how planning, team selection, strategy, preparation, leadership, teamwork – coupled with hard work – were the backbone to their success. But, more importantly, listen to how that message is delivered. It will be inspirational. Sir Clive Woodward, British Olympic Association elite performance director and 2003 Rugby World Cup winning coach, often talks about the ability to “think clearly under pressure.” Sir Steve Redgrave, a five-times Olympic gold medallist, writes about “mental discipline and overcoming low self- esteem.” What both show is that we’re only human. All of us. Yet many falsely assume that somehow elite athletes have bullet-proof minds. That they are not like the rest of us. Over the years my work with Olympic rowers, professional rugby players, Premiership footballers and downhill skiers have shown me that this is not the case. So what can we do to improve our resilience and performance? And by resilience I mean an ability to deal with pressure, to recover and bounce back from set-backs and to be able to work sustainably at optimal levels. On a simple level we need to establish common goals and link them to what is important to us personally. We often manage the first, but not the second. And because of that, we miss the opportunity to build resilience. And without resilience we are more likely to get stressed. But if we can establish common goals and link them to our values, we become motivated and believe in what we are doing and where we are going. That said, don’t expect overnight results or success because it is not that simple. First we have to discover what might be getting in the way of improving someone’s performance. More often than not, it is a problem with how someone thinks – or perceives – things. Good managers can usually spot – and deal with – issues in their team. But sometimes specific individual coaching is needed. Just as in sport, we all need to be able to cope with pressure, negative thoughts and emotions if we are to perform at our best. Cognitive behavioural coaching trains athletes and managers to keep focused on the job despite simultaneous difficult emotions. Cognitive behaviour is thinking behaviour. Coaching helps to understand thoughts and feelings that influence attitudes and drive behaviours. In an ideal world, managers and leaders should be allowing their teams to develop by giving them control and accountability for what they do. It is about relinquishing control – and replacing it with support. Managers who are too ‘hands-on’ are effectively micro-managing their teams and nothing can deplete morale faster than that because it says that you don’t believe your staff can do their jobs properly. Give up a bit of control and you will not only reduce stress but you will also see improved performance. Managers often ask about underperforming teams. In my experience things tend to stay the same if there is not a culture of honest respectful communication. Once people start talking openly about their concerns, it then comes back to the control issue. Research for sport and business clearly shows that with greater control and accountability for what we do, we work better. It’s about trusting each other to deliver. And for team leaders, supporting the team to deliver is the key. In the run-up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the GB cycling team management took a long hard look at themselves. They decided that they had to change, so they gave up trying to control the athletes and instead created an environment which allowed them to grow. And what a difference that made. Much is written about leadership and getting the most from your team in sport or business. But it was interesting how little attention was focused on head coach Jürgen Gröbler after Britain’s stunning performance in the recent World Championships in Bled, Slovenia, when the GB rowing crews won 14 medals to top the table. David Bolchover, co-author of The 90-Minute Manager, was one who did recognise the pivotal role played by Jürgen. He described him as a quiet, unobtrusive man who was not interested in the limelight. He wrote: “His business equivalent is not the charismatic, rent-a-quote chief executive so beloved of the media, but rather the unsung middle manager who devotes his life to extracting the last drop of potential from the human resources at his disposal.” Could this be an example to all leaders in business perhaps?

    7 minutes read Issue 2
  • Debate: Does the 7 billionth baby spell disaster for Earth?

    INEOS makes the basic raw materials essential for many products upon which society increasingly depends. Our business is driven by growth of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). As the world’s population grows, and as countries develop, the demand for the commodity chemicals that go into transportation, construction, electronics, agriculture and healthcare grow with it. But after the birth of the 7 billionth baby at the end of 2011, many are predicting doom and gloom with unsustainable population levels and food shortages. Should we be worried? Or will society continue to adapt and benefit from new talent, new invention and a constant evolution of the human spirit? We look at what commentators, journalists and politicians think. Worried: The booming population growth accelerates poverty and is an indicator for worldwide environmental problems. Furthermore, population growth results in increasing world market prices.Renate Bähr, working manager for the Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevölkerung (German Foundation for world population) Population growth must be stopped. The world’s resources cannot sustain current levels of population growth. There cannot be more people on this Earth than can be fed. The sooner we stabilise our numbers, the sooner we stop running up the down escalator – and we have some chance of reaching the top; that is to say, a decent life for all. Yet there seems to be some bizarre taboo around the subject. This taboo doesn’t just inhibit politicians and civil servants who attend the big conferences. It even affects the environmental and developmental non-governmental organisations, the people who claim to care most passionately about a sustainable and prosperous future for our children.Sir David Attenborough, Britain’s best known natural history filmmaker. The world population is outrunning its basic support systems. That’s why the world’s forests are shrinking, its fisheries are collapsing, its grasslands are turning into deserts from overgrazing, why soil is eroding and why water tables are falling now in 18 countries that contain half the world’s people. Land has become the new gold. It’s an early view of the sort of thing we’ll be seeing. It becomes an every country- for-itself world – whether it’s oil, water, grain or copper.Lester Brown, president of the Earth Policy Institute, an environmental organisation in Washington. Our population is rising while our ability to sustain life on Earth is shrinking. We must change before nature does it for us. Every additional person needs food, water and energy and produces more waste and pollution, so ratchets up our total impact on the planet, and ratchets down everyone else’s share – the rich far more than the poor. By definition, total impact and consumption are worked out by measuring the average per person multiplied by the number of people. Thus all environmental (and many economic and social) problems are easier to solve with fewer people, and ultimately impossible with ever more.Roger Martin, chairman of the charity Population Matters. Although I am hard-wired to regard people as ingenious and society as resilient to change, my conviction that it had been disastrous to neglect efforts to reduce population growth crystallised when I visited Afghanistan and Pakistan. The struggles to build schools and clinics more quickly than the demand for them rose, seemed almost impossible, as did the battle to persuade people that government might improve their lives more than the Taliban. Sitting in Peshawar, listening to a woman in her mid-20s who had seven children and said with distress that she didn’t want any more, it seemed only humane that she should have the means to bring about her wish.Bronwen Maddox, editor of Prospect magazine.   Not Worried: We live on an over-crowded planet. One effect of this is that natural disasters, such as the tsunami of Boxing Day 2004, claim many more lives than they would have done in the past. Another is that conflicts tend increasingly to be for natural resources, such as oil and water. Only co-operation can save us – and for that we must depend on a reformed United Nations.Martin Bell, the BBC’s former Washington correspondent and ex-Member of Parliament. It is likely that the world’s population will grow by about three billion between now and 2050, especially in the less developed countries. We have never experienced a comparable growth in such a short time. The 21st century will be remembered for its aging population – not only in Europe and Japan, but also in China, Latin America and, after 2050, also in India. But individuals and society profit from rising life expectancy. This is an improvement. Besides, our skills and knowledge will be available for longer. However, health care, the labour market and the welfare systems will have to be adapted.Population scientist Rainer Münz. It has been a race between the exhaustibility of resources and innovation, and so far innovation has won. We have several thousand years of human history to support us on that, so I’m reasonably optimistic.Willem Buiter, Citi’s chief economist and son of Dutch economist Harm Buiter Thomas Malthus, who predicted in 1798 that unchecked population growth would doom the Earth to starvation, has been proven wrong for the past 200 years, so why should he be right in the next 100?Robert Aliber, a professor of international economics and finance at Chicago University. Population anxiety is usually ill-informed and often ill-intentioned – targeted against the poor who ‘breed like rabbits’ or immigrants who ‘swamp’ natives. In these circumstances, population fear-mongering is a kind of terrorism and the ‘population bomb’ is a hoax. The real danger is that as people multiply, we will value them less. We should prize human life and try to continue to count it as precious, no matter how much of it we have.Felipe Fernández-Armesto, author of The World: A Global History. We welcome the 7 billionth world citizen. In my opinion, the key to improve the quality of life for people, born and not yet born, is in the hands of the women. Women can handle this only when they are not hungry, when they can go to school and plan their family. This is not possible when they are poor. We, in the West, have to make the choice of redistributing prosperity and wealth. We have to guarantee that the 7 billionth baby will go to school, can make her own choice of whom to marry and whether and how many children she wants.Johan Braeckman, Philosophy Professor, University of Ghent

    8 minutes read Issue 2
  • INEOS colleagues shape up for the toughest race on earth

    John Oivind Selmer, trade union leader, and Oyvind Skogen, mechanic, from INEOS in Norway both participate in Finnmarksløpet, the world’s northernmost sled dog race. As races go, it’s possibly the coolest on Earth. But competition is hotting up for the start of the Finnmark sled dog race – a 500km race over frozen lakes and mountains in temperatures that can plummet to -45c. Lining up at the start will be John Oivind Selmer and Oyvind Skogen, both from INEOS in Norway. John’s a veteran, having completed this race – regarded by many as the toughest in the world – 11 times. Oyvind’s a novice by comparison, having gone the distance just once before. But both men have been training hard for the race, half of which will be run in the dark. But they are not the only ones who need to be in great shape when they set off from Alta with 75 other teams. “Our dogs must be well trained too,” said Oyvind. “And that means they must be in good physical shape as well as mentally sound.” The men expect the conditions to be bad. Heavy snow and strong winds are what they fear most. “Some mushers have described this race as a course in survival,” said Oyvind. But if the weather is good, he says it will be the most beautiful winter adventure ever. “A great Northern Light playing over the sky is a fantastic sight,” he said. To keep out frostbite – and there is always a real danger of losing toes and fi ngers to the icy cold – both men will be wearing several layers of clothing. “We can wear up to six layers,” said Oyvind. During the epic race, teams do have an opportunity to stop for a breather because their dogs must rest for 20 hours. “I will be satisfied if I get five hours’ sleep,” said Oyvind. Most important of all will be to keep hydrated and not to get lost. “It is very easy to lose your way because there are so many snow scooter tracks in Finnmark,” said Oyvind. If all goes to plan, John and Oyvind would like to finish in under two days and three hours, which is John’s personal best. The fastest time ever recorded was two days and one hour.

    2 minutes read Issue 2
  • Staffan head off royal competition in gruelling 90km ski race

    Shift operator Staffan Sandberg discovered he had something in common with the heir to the Danish throne on March 4 – a love of cross country skiing. For as he lined up for the start of this year’s 90km Swedish race from Salen to Mora, Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark was among the thousands of competitors. The gruelling Vasaloppet is regarded as one of the world’s toughest cross-country skiing races. And with almost 16,000 competitors, it is certainly the biggest. “At first it is always a little frantic because you are trying to get ahead as quickly as possible,” said Staffan who works at INEOS in Stenungsund. “And because there are so many who start at the same time, you can easily break a pole.” Despite the sub-zero temperatures, the biggest problem during the race, which has one long uphill stretch, is exhaustion. “Some people compare this race to a marathon because it’s so long,” he said. “Whereas in cycling you can rest sometimes, you cannot during this race because you are constantly working. “And near the end, when you have emptied yourself of everything, it becomes very hard.” But Staffan did himself – and INEOS – proud by beating his own personal best by just 29 seconds, crossing the finish line at Mora in four hours, 22 minutes and 31 seconds. The Danish prince finished more than two hours after Staffan, reportedly tired but with a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye. “It’s been a wonderful day in the tracks,” he said. The winner of this year’s race was Jorgen Brink who trimmed 16 seconds off the course record with a time of three hours, 38 minutes and 41 seconds.

    2 minutes read Issue 2
  • French staff fit in exercise with Sylvia

    Staff at INEOS’ Lavéra site in France have been queuing up to get fi t. More than 100 employees now attend Sylvia Moreau’s weekly fitness classes. “The sessions are not only good for the body but also morale,” said one. Sylvia, who is known for her enthusiasm and tenacity, launched the classes two years ago after she gained access to a spare room on the site. INEOS has now provided an area, equipped with changing rooms, where Sylvia can coach three lunchtime sessions and two after work.

    1 minute read Issue 2
  • Children taught to reach for the stars

    A father, who manages an INEOS plant in Texas, has been helping children to aim high for years. And 2012 will be no exception for Bob Bradshaw. This year he is coaching four Special Olympics basketball teams of players aged between 12 and 20 – and if the last three years are anything to go by, there could be a few more gold medals on the horizon for one or two of his teams. But what’s also special about his players is that despite all suffering from intellectual difficulties, they all have a tremendous desire to learn. “Watching them develop skills and become part of something bigger than themselves is so very rewarding,” he said. Bob, who manages the battleground manufacturing complex in La Porte, Texas, decided to first help coach Special Olympics athletes in the late 1980s – almost 20 years after attending his very first Special Olympics at Soldier Field in Chicago. “The experience of seeing those athletes and their joy in competing never really left me,” he said. Initially he coached volleyball, basketball and track events in Chicago for two years but gave it up when his two older children were born. The family then moved to Houston and in 1993 their youngest son Sammy was born. As fate would have it, Sammy was born with a special need himself. He had Down’s Syndrome. When Sammy was eight, though, Bob decided it was time to play ball again. And he has not looked back. Over the past 11 years he has been teaching Special Olympians volleyball, softball, swimming and basketball. His passion, though, is – and always will be – basketball. “There are not many opportunities for these kids to be part of a team in any other setting,” he said. “To afford them that opportunity is so rewarding.” There are now four million Special Olympians in 170 countries. The winners of the local trials compete in regional heats for a place in the national finals. The very best then meet at the World Games. The next summer World Games will be held in Korea in 2014.

    3 minutes read Issue 2
  • Lavera invests €77m to reduce site emissions

    Lavéra Refinery is investing €77m in developing a set of projects that will contribute to reducing significantly its SOx (Sulphur oxides) emissions by 50% and its NOx (Nitrogen oxides) emissions by 40%. The first step has been reached end of February with the commissioning of the new Sulphur Recovery Unit (SRU) associated to a Tail Gas Treatment Unit (TGTU). The construction of these new units has started in January 2010. The challenge came from the very tight space available to house the units and limited access which imposed a stringent design and construction sequence for the project engineers and those working in the surroundings. With over 150 people directly involved at peak times, the team imposed very strict Safety, Health and Environmental risk management for all works. The new SRU and TGTU are Best Available Technologies enabling a fi nal sulphur recovery yield of 99.5%, this will cut our SOx emissions by 25%. The second project will target the refinery steam production kit but that will be another story.

    1 minute read Issue 2
  • Pupils get the ‘buzz for science and technology at INEOS’ annual SET fair

    INEOS has helped to inspire yet another generation of children in the wonders of science. Representatives from the Grangemouth site were once again on hand at the annual INEOS Science, Engineering and Technology fair to encourage primary schoolchildren to become engineers and scientists for the day. “As an industry that uses science and technology every day, it is important that we do enthuse the next generation to take up these subjects at secondary school,” said David East, communication manager at the Scottish site. During the 12-day fair, almost 1,800 children, aged 10 and 11, from 53 local schools got a buzz as they passed through the doors of Grangemouth Stadium to enter into a world of wonder. Through a series of interactive workshops, children were shown how to: CONTROL electricity. CREATE battery-operated circuit boards. DESIGN and build components for robots and, among other things, PREPARE rockets for take off – and design a parachute to ensure their safe return. “This event is all about showing children that science and technology can be fun,” said Mr East. During the event, the Glasgow Science Centre team also highlighted the importance of science and how biology, chemistry and physics link into careers. The event, which was supported by INEOS’ partners Global Science, Scottish Power and Falkirk Council, coincided with National Science Week. Frank McKeever, spokesman for Global Science, said the INEOS event was now recognised as the premier STEM (Science Technology Engineering Maths) event within Falkirk district.

    2 minutes read Issue 2