INOVYN rewards visionary companies

Inch Magazine

INOVYN rewards visionary companies

2
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INNOVATIVE companies, which share INOVYN’s vision of continuous product improvement and sustainable development, showed what the industry had to offer late last year.

And those deemed the best walked away with the honours.

The occasion was the first-ever INOVYN Awards for Innovation with Vinyls.

“PVC is often perceived to be a mature product, but the reality is that our industry continues with a strong tradition of innovation,” said Chris Tane, CEO of INOVYN, Europe’s leading producer of vinyls. “It is the lifeblood of our industry.”

PVC may have been around since the 1930s, but it is constantly evolving to meet the demands of a changing world. Over the past 10 years alone, about 70,000 PVC-related patents have been registered – and the annual trend is upwards.

INOVYN had invited manufacturers, distributors, architects, designers, students and academic and research organisations from around the world to compete for a top accolade at the inaugural event.

The response was overwhelming. In all organisations from 17 countries across five continents submitted 72 projects to be considered for awards for either innovation, sustainability or industrial design. “The level and the quality clearly showed that innovation is as vigorous as ever in our industry,” said Chris.

After a difficult decision by the five independent judges, Chemson Pacific Pty Ltd from Australia won the award for innovation with its 3D-vinyl for advanced industrial 3D printing.

“It was a real honour to be recognised by INOVYN for our contribution to PVC,” said Greg Harrison, Managing Director of Chemson.

Winner of the sustainability award was UK-based Axion Consulting for a scheme that recycles PVC used in the healthcare industry.

And Swedish company Bolon AB won the industrial design category for its interactive design tool, which allows people to customise their own woven vinyl flooring design.

Chris said the global vinyls industry was acutely aware of the need to produce sustainable products.

“It’s absolutely critical to the continued success of the industry,” he said

The next awards will be held in 2019.

More from INCH Magazine

RECORD YEAR FOR INEOS

INEOS achieved record profits last year. It recorded underlying profits of €4.3billion – a figure only rivalled by the very biggest names in the industry. The company said it was also repaying a €1.2 billion debt from its own cash resources and had refinanced a €4 billion debt, saving more than €100 million a year. “It’s fantastic news,” said INEOS Chairman and Founder Jim Ratcliffe. “INEOS is in great shape. These figures confirm that it is doing better than ever. All the businesses are performing well and our successful refinancing shows that the market is clearly recognising this fact.” INEOS Finance Director John Reece said INEOS had spent the past three months working on the finance package, which had resulted in it being able to reduce costs and extend maturities until 2022 at the earliest. “Not only that but we were oversubscribed by 50%, which showed the credit market’s strong confidence in us,” he said. Jim said INEOS was a unique business. “We only set it up 18 years ago, and it has never floated,” he said. “It’s a tribute to everyone involved – management and staff – that it is now doing so well.” The news of its record year coincided with the official opening of its new UK headquarters in Knightsbridge, London. Jim said the move reflected INEOS’ growth in the UK, where it is investing more than $2billion, and its immense confidence in Britain’s economic future. “We’ve come back to Britain because there is a lot going on here,” he told guests at the official opening of its Hans Crescent HQ on 7 December last year. “The UK is a much better place than it was 10 years ago and the Conservative government is very positive about business.” INEOS currently supplies many British homes with gas, it operates a growing trading and shipping business, its chlorvinyls business, now known as INOVYN, has doubled in size, its Grangemouth site is undergoing a renaissance and it is planning to extract shale gas in the north of England. Britain’s decision to leave the European Union didn’t matter, he said. “We are not concerned about Brexit,” he said. “At the end the day the UK is the world’s 5th largest market and you can’t ignore the world’s 5th largest market.”

4 min read

INEOS’ BIRTHPLACE

ANTWERP has been a magnet for trade ever since it began exporting wine from Germany to England in the 12th century. So it is rather fitting that it is where Jim Ratcliffe should do his first, major deal when he bought the freehold to a former BP-owned site in Zwijndrecht, Antwerp, 19 years ago and founded INEOS. Since then The Port of Antwerp has become the most integrated petrochemical cluster on the planet with links to the rest of the world, via sea, rail, and road and an extensive, 1000km pipe network. And INEOS has grown from just one site in Belgium to become the world’s third largest chemical company with sales of $40 billion and employing 17,000 people at 67 manufacturing sites in 16 countries. Both clearly shared a vision, saw opportunities where others didn’t and believed in a smarter future that continues to this day. “INEOS is a big player in our industry in Belgium and has been part of the development and success of this chemical cluster,” said Yves Verschueren, Managing Director of Essenscia, the Belgian association for the chemical industry. “It drives process efficiency to the highest levels and often shows us where the markets are leading us.” From one site at Antwerp in 1998, INEOS now operates eleven other manufacturing sites in Belgium – in Lillo, Doel, Zandvliet, Geel, Tessenderlo, Jemeppe Sur Sambre, Feluy and Zweijndrecht – and a research laboratory in Neder-Over-Heembeek (NOH) where more than half of the 100+ employee are highly-educated engineers and PhDs from all over the world. Together INEOS businesses – Oxide, Styrolution, Phenol, Oligomers, INOVYN, ChloroToluene and INEOS O&P Europe – produce products that make modern life possible, and, with 2,500 staff, are the second largest employer in the petrochemical industry in Belgium. One who remembers the birth of INEOS is Hans Casier, now CEO of INEOS Phenol. “Jim saw great potential in the site and the business at Zwijndrecht,” he said. “He listened to people’s ideas of what needed to be done to increase production.” He not only listened but he challenged the staff to do it. “It was quite a shock to the system,” said Hans. “We were not used to that approach. We were no longer being asked to contemplate what needed to be done. We were being asked to do it. And deep down we knew we had to make it work.” The turnaround was swift and there was a real focus. Hans attributed the success to the Belgian teams who not only believed in the plan but had the knowledge and skills to make it happen. “We may be a small country but we are also quite open-minded which has helped us over the years to attract a lot of inward investment from the likes of Germany, the US, Japan, France and the UK,” he said. One of the things that INEOS in Belgium has been good at is convincing others – so called Third Parties – to share. To date, 12 of its suppliers and customers now occupy its site at Zwijndrecht, saving money by sharing resources, energy, infrastructure and services. And it has some impressive statistics of its own. The largest PAO production plant in the world is run by INEOS Oligomers from Feluy. Its Geel site, which is championed by outsiders as one of the most energy efficient plants in Europe, produces more than 100 products that are distributed to 76 different countries. The second largest ethylene oxide unit in Europe is in Antwerp where every year INEOS Oxide produces 400,000 tonnes of the base chemical for almost everything made for modern life. Lillo has a hand in helping to make two of Belgium’s most important products – the plastic wrappers for its chocolate and a pipeline for its beer. “The Belgians like their beer so we love the fact that we have made the pipe that transports beer from a brewery in the centre of Bruges to outside the city where it is bottled,” said Veerle Gonnissen, site manager for the Olefins & Polymers North Plants (Geel and Lillo). One of the site’s other big customers is the UK’s fresh milk market. “In the UK they use a lot of fresh milk and 70% of the bottles they use are made from our products,” she said. But that’s not all. The sites also specialise in producing plastics for packaging, medical equipment and, even, artificial grass. Belgium is also home to the world’s biggest and most efficient phenol and acetone plant, producing 650,000 tonnes of phenol and 425,000 tonnes of acetone a year. “We have a great team here,” said Marcus Plevoets, site manager for INEOS Phenol. “It is a brand new facility, we have the best technology and the highest energy efficiency.” Phenol can be found in cleaning products, shower gels, shampoos, aspirin, plastics and mobile phones. “A life without phenol and acetone is difficult to imagine,” said Marcus, “because these products are everywhere.” As with all of INEOS’ sites, safety, reliability and growth remain the focus for the team at INEOS Oxide – one of only a few producers in the world of ENB, a very special polymer used predominately in the car industry. “We have really mastered this over the years,” said CEO Graham Beesley, who, in a previous life when he worked for Procter & Gamble, was one of INEOS’ customers. “There are only two established producers in the world and we are the only one in Europe.” He said the site had managed to treble its production of ENB by making a series of minor expansions over the 19 years of INEOS’ existence. Over the years INEOS’ other sites throughout the world have, in fact, looked to Belgium for inspiration in how to be part of a successful petrochemical cluster. “INEOS does take advantage of being part of such a large and integrated cluster, but it also contributes a lot,” said Yves. “It interacts with the local community and in many respects, through its work, has opened the eyes of people living here. It has certainly helped government officials to understand how innovation can really play a crucial role in the success of this cluster.” Looking to the future, all INEOS’ Belgian sites have plans to do things better. Sharper, smarter thinking remains top of their list. A crucial, current project for INEOS Oxide at Zwijndrecht is the construction of a new ethylene oxide storage tank and a fifth alkoxylation reactor. The site wants to focus on producing more alkoxylates, which can be made into a whole raft of products, but it needs more ethylene oxide on tap, and a fifth reactor on site to cope with the demand. “This will enable the business to be less reliant on selling ethylene glycol, which, while being important for the business, is more volatile when it comes to profit margins,” said Graham. INEOS Styrolution is planning to convert an extruder line to produce white-coloured ABS for use in the production of household appliances and electronic devices. INEOS O&P Europe is planning upgrades and a new catalyst feeding drum so it can run with two different catalysts. INOVYN wants to extend its membrane electrolysis by 25% and invest in a large-scale potassium hydroxide (KOH) production unit. And INEOS Phenol is currently exploring ways of working with other industries on the huge site to use energy generated from waste as part of a major initiative. “It’s early days but we will work hard to make this happen,” said Marcus. By capturing and reusing wasted steam to power other plants on the site, INEOS will stop 100,000 tons of greenhouse gases being pumped into the air every year. And that matters to Marcus and his team. “We need to show society that we do care about the next generation and that we are environmentally friendly,” he said. Despite the rapid – and continued – growth of INEOS, Belgium retains its special place in Jim’s heart and remains very much at the heart of what and how it does business. Will it be ignored post-Brexit? Not at all, says Jim. “Belgium is a great manufacturing country, we have made a huge amount of investment and it has a great track record,” he said.

4 min read

BELGIUM’S GROWING INDUSTRY

BELGIUM’S chemical industry is not only thriving. It’s growing. Essenscia, the Belgian association for the chemical industry, said that was a result of always striving to be one step ahead of the competition by focusing on innovation, be it in new products, high quality infrastructure, energy efficiency or hiring the very best people. “We are faced with challenges but we remain confident that we can master them,” said Managing Director Yves Verschueren. The industry employs about 90,000 people directly with more and more being hired every year. “That’s in sharp contrast to other industrial sectors which have seen job losses,” he said. Its annual contribution to Belgium’s GDP is about 16 billion euros. “This really is an industry of utmost importance to this country,” said Yves. As such, it does have clout. “Successful companies like INEOS have an important role in helping our government officials to understand that investments will only continue to be made if the conditions continue to be right here,” he said. “And that includes lower energy costs.” The Belgians, though, do face other challenges – just like the rest of western Europe. “Youngsters have, to a certain degree, lost interest in science, maths and engineering,” said Yves. One who feels that is Holger Laqua, Plant Manager at INEOS Oxide in Zwijndrecht, Antwerp. “Ours is a very technically-orientated site and finding good technical people is a challenge,” he said. “We go into schools and explain what we do and what we make because we need to make children from 12 think about this profession.” Essenscia also visits schools, and has set up science parks and museums to change perception and show children that the answers to today’s most challenging questions will come from the chemical industry. “We need to open their eyes and show them what the chemistry industry is already doing to create a more sustainable society and tackle climate change,” said Yves. And with 2,600 vacancies expected every year in the coming years to replace those who are retiring, that will become increasingly more important.

2 min read

INEOS TO BUILD HUGE BUTANE STORAGE TANK

INEOS has taken yet another bold step to reinforce its global position. Last month it confirmed that it planned to build the largest butane storage tank ever seen in Europe. Once built, INEOS will be able to import lowcost butane from America, and other world markets in the largest ships possible to supply competitive raw materials to its naphtha crackers in Köln, Germany, and ultimately Lavéra in France. The tank, which will be built in Antwerp, will also mean INEOS Trading & Shipping can sell butane in Europe. INEOS’ gas crackers – in Norway and Scotland – are already reaping the benefits of INEOS’ decision to ship low-cost ethane from the US to Rafnes and Grangemouth where it is stored in huge, purpose-built tanks. The latest news also reinforces Belgium’s important position in the world of petrochemicals. The Port of Antwerp is already home to the biggest ethylene terminal in Europe and the second largest in the world, thanks to INEOS. Seven years ago INEOS invested 100 million euros in the new, one million tonne terminal so it could import low-cost ethylene from around the world for its European plants and those connected along the ARG pipeline. “This latest tank and terminal will provide INEOS with increased flexibility and security of supply that will significantly improve our competitiveness in Europe,” said David Thompson, CEO INEOS Trading & Shipping. “It also positions INEOS as a major player in global LPG markets.” Holger Laqua, Plant Manager at INEOS Oxide, believes INEOS is driving the chemical industry in Europe. “A few years ago others thought the European chemical industry was dead but we made some good decisions,” he said.

3 min read

BP SELLS FORTIES PIPELINE SYSTEM TO INEOS

INEOS has agreed a $250 million deal buy BP’s Forties Pipeline System which delivers almost 40% of the UK’s North Sea oil and gas. The sale of the 235-mile pipeline system was agreed this month, subject to regulatory and other third party approvals. When it first opened in 1975, the pipeline transported oil from BP’s Forties field, which was then the UK’s first major offshore oil field, primarily to the Grangemouth refinery and petrochemical plant in Scotland. BP then owned both the refinery and chemical plant but sold them to INEOS in 2005. Today the pipeline links 85 North Sea oil and gas assets to the UK mainland and INEOS’ site in Grangemouth where 20% of the oil, which passes down the pipeline, feeds the refinery to provide 80% of Scotland’s fuel. INEOS Chairman and Founder Jim Ratcliffe described the Forties Pipeline System as a UK strategic asset. “INEOS will be able to produce greater efficiencies and help secure a competitive, long-term future for this important piece of UK oil and gas infrastructure,” he said. Last year the pipeline’s average daily throughput was 445,000 barrels oil and 3,500 tonnes of raw gas. But it can transport 575,000 barrels of oil a day. The 300 people, who operate and support the FPS business at Kinneil, Grangemouth, Dalmeny and offshore, are expected to become INEOS’ Upstream employees. INEOS already supplies gas to many thousand British homes following its decision to buy the Breagh and Clipper South gas fields in the Southern North Sea from Letter1 in 2015. On completion of the deal the ownership and operation of Forties Pipeline System, the Kinneil terminal and gas processing plant, the Dalmeny terminal, sites at Aberdeen, the Forties Unity Platform and associated infrastructure will transfer to INEOS. “This is another very significant deal for INEOS,” said Jim. “The acquisition reunites North Sea and Grangemouth assets under INEOS ownership. INEOS is now the only UK company with refinery and petrochemical assets directly integrated into the North Sea.”

3 min read

INEOS SHALE CLEARS ITS FIRST HURDLE

INEOS remains committed to pursuing shale gas exploration in the UK. It hopes to drill its fi rst vertical, coring well this year at a site near the Derbyshire village of Marsh Lane to test the nature of the rock thousands of feet beneath the surface. In March Derbyshire County Council ruled that INEOS did not need to carry out an environmental impact assessment before submitting its detailed planning application to drill in Bramleymoor Lane. “We were very pleased with that decision,” said Tom Pickering, INEOS Shale Operations Director. “But whilst screening demonstrated that there was no need for an assessment on this occasion, we will of course carry one out when there is a clear need for us do so.” Despite the ruling he sought to reassure villagers, who might be concerned about the impact on the environment, that their views would still be considered. “Although we are not required to complete a formal impact assessment, all relative environmental concerns will be addressed as part of our planning application,” he said. The plans, which will be drawn up after meeting members of the local community, will include a report about the use of water, ecology, noise, landscape and visual effects, and cultural heritage. “We want to ensure that the important issues have been discussed, considered and are understood before we submit our planning application,” said Tom. Once the well has been drilled, samples of the rock will be analysed in a laboratory. “We need to identify the geological characteristics of the rock and its gas-producing properties,” said Tom. INEOS believes Britain needs to consider where it will get its energy from as coal and nuclear power stations close. Britain’s last coal mine, Kellingley Colliery in North Yorkshire, closed in December 2015, bringing to an end centuries of deep coal mining in the UK. “Extracting shale gas is not about using more fossil fuels,” said Tom. “It’s about displacing coal, and using our own gas rather than imports.” Earlier this year Friends of the Earth admitted it had misled the public over fracking. The Advertising Standards Authority found the group had no evidence to show that the fl uid used in fracking contained chemicals dangerous to people’s health. The authority’s exhaustive 14-month investigation also showed the environmental group could not prove claims that a US fracking site had caused an increase in asthma rates, and that the public in Britain would face a similar risk by living or working near a fracking site. FOE also wrongly claimed that fracking would lead to falling house prices and increase the risks of cancer. “These false claims have formed the heart of the FOE’s wrongheaded opposition to fracking,” said Tom. He said INEOS wanted a ‘grown-up science-based discussion’ based on truth. “Britain’s energy and manufacturing sectors are too important to allow fake facts to infl uence the debate,” he said. “Unfortunately, Friends of the Earth and Friends of the Earth Scotland don’t want to engage with us.”

3 min read

MARIAH EDGES CLOSER TO OLYMPIC GLORY

SPORTS do not build character; they reveal it. One man who would agree with the late basketball player John Wooden’s sentiment is INEOS’ Andy Bell. He is father to two girls – both of whom are worldclass ice skaters. “The most important thing was that they became better people,” he said. “We did not have any interest in raising prima donnas.“ His eldest daughter Morgan, 25, skates for Disney on Ice and travels the world playing Anna from the fi lm Frozen. His youngest daughter Mariah, 20, is now a serious contender to make next year’s US Olympic team. Andy and his wife Kendra understand the importance of having a strong work ethic. And it’s something they have passed down to their children. “You have to love the grind of training and hard work,” said Andy. “You have to be passionate about what you do. We never focused on their results but rather their work ethic and the effort they put in. It’s a marathon not a sprint. So many parents of young athletes fail to realise that and push their kids. Sadly most of them never last very long.” Andy is equally as passionate about his work with INEOS. He was instrumental in helping INEOS to secure deals with American companies as part of its ground-breaking decision to ship shale gas from the US to Europe. For almost six years he worked tirelessly on what became known as the Mariner Project, leading the negotiations for the 15-year terminal and supply agreements. “In the early days we faced a lot of industry scepticism about our ability to pull the project off,” he said. “But many of the relationships, which started from cold calls, are now very strategic partnerships.” There were dark days, though, and to cope Andy drew inspiration from his daughter. “Many times, when things were not going well, I found a lot of strength thinking about Mariah’s journey in skating, the high and lows, and how if you keep pressing on with your head high you will ultimately succeed,” he said. The only downside to his job is that he spends most of the week in Houston, Texas, Pittsburgh or Philadelphia – about 1,000 miles from the family home in Monument, Colorado. “It’s hard but my primary support role is to fund, as best I can, her pursuits, providing her the best coaching and training environment we can afford,” he said. “My wife carries the heavy load of day-to-day support and she is amazing.” He said sacrifi ces had been made. “There have been a lot, but our primary goal as parents has always been to support our girls to pursue their passions,” he said. “And I cannot think of a more important endeavour.”

3 min read

INEOS GEARS UP TO BUILD WORLD’S BEST 4X4

INEOS is to go ahead with its plans to create what it believes will be the world’s best 4x4. It confirmed the news last month following a six-month feasibility study. “This is an amazing project for everyone involved,” said Dirk Heilmann, formerly head of Engineering and Technology at INEOS and now Chief Executive of INEOS’ newest business, INEOS Automotive. INEOS spotted a gap in the market after JLR decided to cease production of the Land Rover Defender. It is now planning to invest hundreds of millions to, not only plug that gap, but also build a 4x4, the likes of which no one has ever seen or experienced before. “I was a great admirer of the old Land Rover Defender and had enormous respect for its off-road capability,” said INEOS Chairman Jim Ratcliffe. “Our new 4 x4 may have been inspired by it and might share its spirit, but it will not be a replica. It will be a major improvement on previous models.” INEOS is determined that its new vehicle will offer a real and pure alternative to the current crop of standardised ‘jelly-mould’ SUVs. “It needs to be an uncompromising off-roader that not only stands for adventure, but is also capable of being used as a workhorse,” said Jim. Once built, it will be aimed at farmers, forestry workers, adventurers as well as traditional Defender fans throughout the world. INEOS Automotive’s next job is to find a suitable manufacturing site, which could be in the UK or mainland Europe. INEOS has already begun recruiting.

3 min read

GRADUATES FACE ULTIMATE TEAM-BUILDING EXERCISE

IT is a team-building exercise only the likes of INEOS would have devised for its graduates. But company chairman Jim Ratcliffe believes anything is possible with the right attitude and that’s why they have been set the rarest and toughest of team challenges. “It’s remarkable what people can do and accomplish when they turn the brakes off in their head,” he said. For six days, the 29 graduates ran, hiked and biked 250km in the blistering heat through the untouched Namibian desert, the last frontier of the big 3 – the lion, the black rhino and the desert elephant. They passed over ancient volcanic craters, climbed the Brandberg, Namibia’s highest peak, and conquered the unforgiving basalt lavas of the Ugab on foot. “Although they enured gruelling physical conditions, and running and cycling on sand, the rewards will be huge,” said project leader John Mayock. The graduates, who include eight women, began their epic journey from Cape Cross on the Skeleton Coast on Saturday May 6. “I have noticed a few of them were a little nervous, but the positive camaraderie amongst them was fantastic,” said John. Jim is no stranger to danger. He is one of only a handful of people who has made it to both the North and South Pole. He joined the graduates along with Simon Laker, INEOS Group Operations Director, and fitness and medical experts. “Part of the INEOS philosophy is to encourage people to take on more,” he said. “If you can, I believe you should maximise the number of days in your life that are unforgettable.” INCH will cover a full report of the event in its next edition due out in July. PAIR FOCUS ON TASK AHEAD AS INEOS TURNS UP THE HEAT INEOS graduates Hannah Salter and Kasper Hawinkel feared the intense heat more than anything. But the thought of running, climbing and cycling in 43 C kept them both focused on the need to train well before they flew to Namibia. “All these anxieties have been very helpful in making sure I do enough of the right types of preparation,” said Hannah, 30. Aside from the heat, plenty appealed to them about the trip, not least sleeping under the stars at the top of a mountain and making friends for life. “A lot of my university friends are jealous,” said Kasper, 28. “Their team-building exercises have involved obstacle courses and go-karting.” Neither Kasper nor Hannah views themselves as athletic, but both love the outdoors. Hannah loves kayaking; Kasper plays water polo. “The trip is my idea of a great holiday, albeit an extreme version of one,” said Hannah, a Procurement Specialist of Polymer Additives, Catalysts and Chemicals for O&P Europe. Kasper is a production engineer at INEOS Oxide in Antwerp, Belgium. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and a great challenge to test and expand the limits,” he said.

4 min read

SAFE BET

ACCIDENTS were commonplace during the Industrial Revolution. Workers, many of them children, often toiled for hours in dreadful conditions. In 1842 a German visitor noted that he had seen so many people on the streets of Manchester in the North of England without arms and legs that it was like ‘living in the midst of an army just returned from a campaign’. Thankfully those days are long gone. Accidents still do happen but the dangers of exposing workers to asbestos, lead, silica, carbon monoxide and cotton dust are known, and organisations, like OSHA and the HSE, exist to ensure companies abide by the laws of the land. It would appear, though, that the public continues to perceive the chemical industry as an inherently unsafe business. “It is frustrating because we know that this is not the case,” said Simon Laker, INEOS Group Operations Director. Simon recently gave a talk to the insurance market to explain INEOS’ approach to safety, its operations and its management of risk. During his presentation he referred to the latest statistics from pan-industry OSHA (Occupational Health and Safety Administration), the strict, US-developed, but worldwide used, system of recording workplace accidents, injuries and illnesses. The results showed that some industries had significantly more accidents than others. Topping the list was manufacturing, closely followed by the construction industry where four in every 100 employees had been injured. The overall petrochemical industry, however, fared much better – with INEOS’ performance even better than that. “People were very impressed with our approach to safety and managing risk and recognised the relentless improvement as borne out by the statistics over many years,” said Simon. Last year INEOS recorded its best-ever safety performance at OSHA rate of 0.32 (0.32 injuries per 100 full-time employees). What made that safety record even more impressive was that INEOS achieved it whilst acquiring businesses from companies that do things differently. “We now have more than 80 sites across 16 countries operating many different technologies, processes and thousands of procedures, monitored across hundreds of thousands of data points,” said Simon. “But it is because of our focus on safety that we continue to see improvement, despite our growth. That ability – to seamlessly integrate new businesses into its safety and operations approach – was actually highlighted by the insurance industry.” Simon told INCH that staff were expected to report all incidents because INEOS believed that was the best – and only – way to ensure valuable lessons were learned every time. “The public should be more confident in a company that reports issues, even minor ones, rather than one which says it has nothing to report,” he said. “It is clear to us which company takes health and safety seriously and which is brushing it under the carpet.” Complacency, though, will always be the biggest danger – and that is something INEOS guards against. “Our aim is always to continually improve so that we have zero incidents,” said Simon. "Only then will we be happy.”

5 min read

THE DAILY MILE GIVES CHILDREN A HEAD START

CHILDREN who run about a mile every day at school do better in the classroom. A new study has shown that children who ran for 15 minutes a day over three months performed up to 25% better than expected in reading, writing and maths exams. The children were also fitter, more confident and less disruptive. The results have been welcomed by INEOS, which has invested its time, energy and money in helping retired Scottish headteacher Elaine Wyllie to spread the word about her Daily Mile scheme to get children fit for life. “This is excellent preliminary evidence that The Daily Mile has a positive and transformative impact on children’s physical fitness and wider health and wellbeing,” said Holly Eager, Assistant Communications Officer at INEOS’ London-based headquarters. The report had been commissioned by the London Playing Fields Foundation for Public Health England and Sport England to evaluate the impact of The Daily Mile at Coppermill Primary School in East London. For 12 weeks, 76 children from the school were monitored as they ran around a 340-metre track on a playing fi eld for 12 minutes. “It was just a happy coincidence that they effectively chose to evaluate the Daily Mile,” said Holly. “We didn’t know about it until it was near completion.” The results of the experiment amazed teachers, though, with children performing signifi cantly above national and regional predictions in their maths, writing and reading SAT exams. Nationally, 66% of pupils were expected to achieve the national average in reading, but at Coppermill 92% met the grade. “It’s amazing,” said headteacher Figen Bektasoglu. “The Daily Mile does not make children brighter but more focused, attentive and ready to work.” Ursula Heath, Group Communications Offi cer at INEOS, said children from more than 2,500 primary schools in the UK, Europe and the US now took part in The Daily Mile, which involves them leaving the classroom in their uniforms for a 15-minute run, walk or jog. That equates to 500,000 pupils running 1.5 million miles a week and, with INEOS’ support, the initiative is still growing. KIDS CONQUER THE WORLD CHILDREN from St Polycarp’s Primary in Farnham, Surrey, have now effectively run around the world twice. Together they have walked, jogged or run 58,522 miles since The Daily Mile was launched in their school. “Our reception children love running which bodes well for the future,” said a spokesman for the school.

4 min read

GO RUN FOR FUN OFFERS SCHOOLS FOOD FOR THOUGHT

INEOS’ successful GO Run For Fun campaign to inspire a healthier generation is moving into the classroom. The campaign to get kids running again has been phenomenally successful since it was launched in the summer of 2013 but INEOS believes it can do more to encourage children to lead healthy, active lifestyles. Its team are now focusing on supporting schools, initially in the UK, in promoting the importance of getting fitter and eating the right food. Bite-sized videos and activities, which can become part of lessons, will be offered to schools. Teachers will also be encouraged to set up school running clubs and pupils will be given the chance to become ambassadors to promote the campaign in school. The GO Run For Fun team will continue to host the free fun runs throughout the UK, but there will be fewer, larger ones. “It is simply a focus on making the messaging longer lasting,” said Ursula Heath, group communications officer. GO Run For Fun was founded by INEOS Chairman Jim Ratcliffe amid concerns about the growing obesity crisis among children. The Global World Health Organisation regards it as one of the most serious global public health challenges for the 21st century. In the UK alone, almost a fifth of four to five-year-olds are overweight. Since the fi rst event, more than 190,000 children, aged fi ve to 10, have taken part in events spanning the UK, France, Germany, Belgium, Norway, Italy, Switzerland and Houston, USA. “And we are still growing,” said Ursula. Last year the team staged 40 events in the UK. This year there will be a handful “But those will be even bigger events,” said Ursula. Events will continue as normal in mainland Europe and America.

2 min read

INEOS JOINS BATTLE TO TURN TIDE ON PLASTIC POLLUTION

INEOS is officially backing an international initiative to stop the flow of plastic waste into the world’s oceans and rivers. Chairman and Founder Jim Ratcliffe has signed the global plastic industry’s Operation Clean Sweep® – and has pledged to do all he can. The decision to sign was made as the UN Environment Programme claimed about eight million tonnes of plastic end up in the sea every year. “Unless global action is taken now, our oceans will be filled with the leftovers of human consumption,” a spokesman said in a recent report. “These are really scary statistics and numbers like this stick, especially in the minds of politicians, Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs), environmental pressure groups and society at large,” said Dr Jason Leadbitter, Sustainability & Corporate Social Responsibility Manager at INOVYN. THE UN Environment Programme intends to invest $6 million over the next five years as part of its ambitious campaign to turn a neglected problem into one that can no longer be ignored. Jason may work for a company that is one of the world’s biggest producers of plastic, be it in pellet or powder form, but he says INEOS has been aware of – and trying to tackle - the problem for years. “We already have countless procedures in place to ensure our sites and processes are carefully managed to prevent plastic powder and pellet lost,” he said. “It is common practice to have spill kits in place and to ensure that good housekeeping is maintained at all times to prevent leakage to the environment.” One of the key pledges of Operation Clean Sweep®, though, will be to provide additional training and accountability to INEOS’ staff, as well as regular audits. “We need to be seen to be taking positive action because we will be judged on this in the years to come,” he said. “It is also in our interests, as such losses, however small, have an economic value to the business.” Jason recalled how 10 years ago he was sitting on a beach in Sardinia when his daughter fished plastic pellets from the sand and asked him what they were. “I have to say I was rather embarrassed to tell her that her daddy worked in an industry that made such pellets,” he said. Jason said the industry could face a bleak future if it failed to tackle this growing and serious problem. “If we fail, then the bigger threat is the design out of plastics which some NGOs are already calling for with regard to certain types of single-use plastics,” he said. “Thankfully Operation Clean Sweep® is beginning to gain momentum and also credibility with some of the NGOs as more and more companies sign up to its pledge.” In the UK alone, Fidra, a Scottish-based charity, estimates that up to 53 billion of these plastic pellets are lost each year. “If you can imagine that a 24-tonne tanker contains about 1.5 billion pellets, you can understand the scale of the problem,” said Jason. Thankfully, Fidra wants to work with industry, including trade associations, not against it. “It understands the importance that plastics play in society and is trying to address the problem collectively,” said Jason. “It sees Operation Clean Sweep® as a means of industry taking on its responsibility.” But plastic pellets are only part of the problem. Microbeads – the tiny bits of plastic found in exfoliating body washes and facial scrubs – are designed to be flushed down drains. But the particles float in water and can be carried over significant distances. There are numerous campaigns, calling for them to be banned, but in the meantime, fish feed on them, mistaking them for food. “Personally I find microbeads completely indefensible,” said Jason. “The leakage to nature is unavoidable and they clearly do tarnish the reputation of the plastics industry.” Over the next five years the UN Environment Programme plans to mobilise the biggest-ever clean-up of beaches around the world to highlight the problem. “This is an issue not just for industry, but for the whole of society,” said Jason. ELLEN MACARTHUR WARNS OF STORM ON HORIZON DAME Ellen MacArthur, who made history when she became the fastest solo sailor to circumnavigate the globe in 2005, has become a driving force for change. She believes the structure of today’s global economy is fundamentally flawed – and believes people can learn from nature where nothing is wasted. “How can our economy really run in the long term when it involves taking a finite material out of the ground, making something out of it and then ultimately throwing it away?” she said. “We need to build an economy where we use things, not use them up.” In a new report, published in January by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and the World Economic Forum, global plastics producers were called on to design better packaging, increase recycling rates and introduce new models for making better use of packaging. Just 14% of plastic packaging is currently recycled. She believes it can easily be increased to 70% by rethinking the design.

6 min read

CLIMATE OF CHANGE

INEOS has embarked on an initiative that has the power to change the world. It has joined ELEGANCY, a Norwegian-led research project to fi nd a way better, easier and cheaper way of capturing carbon, the greenhouse gas blamed for global warming. If the EU agrees to fund the project this spring, INEOS will sponsor a PhD student at the Imperial College in London to explore how, chiefl y, its Grangemouth site in Scotland could capture and store carbon. “In the future the UK is going to have to run its economy with much lower carbon emissions to meet tougher climate change budget targets so this is a very good collaboration,” said Professor Nilay Shah, head of chemical engineering at the college. “We will provide the student with a lot of the tools to carry out the analysis and the team in Grangemouth will give them a lot of the industrial reality of what may, or may not, be possible on the site.” INEOS, he said, was the perfect company to work with on a project that was close to the college’s heart. “It is quite a far-thinking company and has some amazing facilities, not only in Grangemouth, but also in mainland Europe and it’s very interested in what we’re trying to do in hydrogen and carbon capture,” he said. “All the indications are that they are very open to have this kind of collaboration and to be challenged, and to be pushed hard, to go green and go quickly.” The college has recently built a pilot carbon capture facility to better understand how carbon capture works. “We want to show companies like INEOS that it’s actually possible to keep operating in a low carbon environment,” he said. Industry has so far managed to reduce its emissions through energy efficiency even though it is not legally obliged to do so. But Professor Shah said companies like INEOS were sensible to start making more plans for the future before the law did change. “It not only shows their commitment to reducing their carbon footprint but also that they realise their wider obligations to society,” he said. Professor Shah said INEOS’ decision to want to work closely with a PhD student was also refreshing because the company knew that the student might ask some diffi cult questions and expose ineffi ciencies within the business. “The student might potentially find alternative ways of doing things which can be better, so the people at the other end, need to be comfortable to be open about what they’re doing,” he said. “To us, this collaboration shows that INEOS wants to go down a very clean production process path.” Governments believe capturing and storing carbon is part of the road to creating a lower carbon economy. But industry, in some ways, is sceptical. It says not only is the technology currently too costly to build and operate, but no one has thought about how its unwanted gas could be distributed to those who need or want it. INEOS, which produces carbon dioxide as a byproduct of its processes, says the PhD student will spend most of their time at Grangemouth, and its cracker sites in Rafnes, Norway, and Köln, Germany. “That’s what appealed to INEOS,” said Colin Pritchard, Energy and Business Manager at Grangemouth. “This is not going to be a purely academic exercise. The solutions need to work in industry.” The student will be able to judge for themselves how well their ideas would work in a real-life industrial setting. INEOS became involved in the project through Greet Van Eetvelde’s R&D network, via Professor Mazzotti at ETHZ in Zürich and Professor Shah, both of whom are ELEGANCY partners. If it goes ahead, in July, INEOS will explore the pros and cons of carbon capture and storage, as part of the consortium of hand-picked industrial partners and academic institutions in Europe. “It is a big project with the potential to change the world but even a company as big as INEOS needs to work with other partners to make this happen because the challenges are beyond one simple engineering thing,” said Colin whose job is to ensure Grangemouth’s manufacturing plant is supplied with suffi cient steam and power. Greet, who chairs the pan-INEOS Carbon and Energy Network, drives R&D projects across INEOS’ businesses. Her aim is to understand and generate industry-proof solutions to the challenges of switching to a lower carbon economy. “We hope, through our industrial experience and operational knowledge, that we can help to plot a pathway to that future,” she said.

4 min read

INEOS RAISES ITS NORTH SEA PROFILE

INEOS has bought a Danish company’s entire oil and gas assets in the North Sea for more than $1 billion. DONG Energy said it wanted to focus on renewables, in particular wind farms. “We have been actively working to get the best transaction by selling the business as a whole to ensure its long-term development and, with INEOS, we have obtained just that,” said Henrik Poulsen, CEO of DONG Energy. For INEOS, the acquisition of a portfolio of well-run, long-life assets, with a highly successful and experienced team, is a perfect fit as the Group continues to expand its Upstream business. “This business is very important to us at this stage of our growth plans and we are delighted with the expertise that comes with it,” said INEOS Chairman Jim Ratcliffe. “We already see lots of opportunity within this impressive portfolio.” In acquiring the entire DONG Oil & Gas Business, the deal positions INEOS as a top ten company in the North Sea and the biggest privately owned exploration and production business operating in this energy basin. Included in the deal is Ormen Lange, the second largest gas field in Norwegian waters, Laggan- Tormore, a new gas field west of Shetland, and oil and gas hubs in Denmark. The business currently produces about 100,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day and about 70% of its production comes from its Norwegian fields. But INEOS Upstream believes it can do more. “We think we have got a lot to offer this business,” said Jim. INEOS already has a proven track record in operating complex assets to further maximise the economic recovery of the hydrocarbons. The Upstream business was founded in October 2015 when it bought all of the UK North Sea gas fields owned by the DEA Group. A few days later Fairfield Energy Holdings Ltd sold its 25% interest in the Clipper South platform to INEOS. More recently INEOS agreed to acquire a strategic UK asset as it plans to buy BP’s 235-mile Forties pipeline system for $250 million. The latest deals are subject to regulatory approval but once complete, the 440 DONG and FPS staff will become INEOS employees.

3 min read

SHALE GAS BOOM LEADS TO MORE JOBS

A FORWARD-THINKING community helped to convince a fast-growing, dynamic American business to invest millions in a new manufacturing plant in their city. When they heard that WL Plastics wanted to open a new factory to make polyethylene pipes for the use in support of infrastructure (water, conduit, sewer, drainage) and the US shale gas industry, they embraced the company’s plans and helped to fast track the project. As the community lined up to back the development, community leaders and politicians came up with a $2.9 million package of incentives to entice the company to build its new factory in Statesboro in Georgia, USA. The Development Authority of Bulloch County, the county and the state promised to donate 31 acres of land for the factory for free and build a railway spur to the site of the proposed new plant. In return, they asked for, among other things, the creation of 50 well-paid jobs for people who would eventually work at the plant, as well as a commitment to spend money on local goods and services needed to make WL’s products. The incentives worked. The factory was built and production began in January this year. “This has been a real win-win for all,” said Dennis Seith, CEO of INEOS O&P USA which acquired WL Plastics late last year. WL Plastics was in the midst of building its seventh production site in Statesboro when INEOS bought 100% of the company in November. The factory makes high density polyethylene (HDPE) pipes which are needed for infrastructure development and to move water to and from shale gas fracking sites in the US. “This is an excellent example of the investment that follows shale and infrastructure development,” said INEOS Chairman Jim Ratcliffe who has invested millions in trying to kickstart the UK’s shale gas industry. Pipes, which are made from HDPE, don’t leak or rust and, if properly designed and installed, don’t need maintaining for 100 years. As such, they are in demand from oil and gas producers. At the offi cial opening ceremony of the new factory last month, Benjy Thompson, spokesman for the Development Authority of Bulloch County, praised the $13 million investment by INEOS-owned WL Plastics. “This type of project adds diversity to an industrial base,” he said. “Instead of having one or two large employer-industries, we have a number of medium to small-sized manufacturers. And that helps the overall health of our economy.” Dennis agreed. “I believe this is the story behind shale in creating jobs that spin off out of the development of low-cost energy. And any great society needs these kind of manufacturing jobs for its communities if it is to survive.”

4 min read

Step forward, Kendra

Kendra Carter, Olefins Business Manager at INEOS O&P USA, will be presented with a Women in Manufacturing STEP Ahead Award in recognition of her exemplary leadership. Every year The Manufacturing Institute selects 100 women who have made a difference in their field. No one is more delighted for Kendra than her boss, Dennis Seith. “Kendra has become one of our business leaders who is making a big impact in the way she coaches and leads by example,” he said. “And she is one of the reasons our US-based business has been a top performer for profitability within the INEOS Group.” The olefins business has grown 300 percent under Kendra’s direction, and she has successfully helped to implement projects that have not only increased production but also reduced the environmental footprint of the business. “What we do improves the quality of life for people around the world, and that is truly inspiring,” she said. “The products we make touch people through their clothing, housing, food, and transportation.” The Manufacturing Institute hopes that women, like Kendra, will help to inspire the next generation of women seeking careers in manufacturing.

1 min read

INOVYN rewards visionary companies

INNOVATIVE companies, which share INOVYN’s vision of continuous product improvement and sustainable development, showed what the industry had to offer late last year. And those deemed the best walked away with the honours. The occasion was the first-ever INOVYN Awards for Innovation with Vinyls. “PVC is often perceived to be a mature product, but the reality is that our industry continues with a strong tradition of innovation,” said Chris Tane, CEO of INOVYN, Europe’s leading producer of vinyls. “It is the lifeblood of our industry.” PVC may have been around since the 1930s, but it is constantly evolving to meet the demands of a changing world. Over the past 10 years alone, about 70,000 PVC-related patents have been registered – and the annual trend is upwards. INOVYN had invited manufacturers, distributors, architects, designers, students and academic and research organisations from around the world to compete for a top accolade at the inaugural event. The response was overwhelming. In all organisations from 17 countries across five continents submitted 72 projects to be considered for awards for either innovation, sustainability or industrial design. “The level and the quality clearly showed that innovation is as vigorous as ever in our industry,” said Chris. After a difficult decision by the five independent judges, Chemson Pacific Pty Ltd from Australia won the award for innovation with its 3D-vinyl for advanced industrial 3D printing. “It was a real honour to be recognised by INOVYN for our contribution to PVC,” said Greg Harrison, Managing Director of Chemson. Winner of the sustainability award was UK-based Axion Consulting for a scheme that recycles PVC used in the healthcare industry. And Swedish company Bolon AB won the industrial design category for its interactive design tool, which allows people to customise their own woven vinyl flooring design. Chris said the global vinyls industry was acutely aware of the need to produce sustainable products. “It’s absolutely critical to the continued success of the industry,” he said The next awards will be held in 2019.

2 min read

INEOS OXIDE HAS BOUGHT ARKEMA’S OXO ALCOHOL BUSINESS

The acquisition had been subject to European Commission clearance, which was given last month. CEO Graham Beesley described the sale of oxo alcohols, which are mainly used to produce acrylic esters, diesel additives, paints, and to make lubricants, as a core business for INEOS Oxide. The deal will also see INEOS take full ownership of Oxochimie, its 50:50 joint venture with the French chemicals group. Oxochimie has a site in Lavéra, where it produces butanol and 2-ethyl hexanol. “We’re looking forward to integrating the Oxochimie joint venture and growing our global market presence in oxo alcohols, aldehydes and derivatives,” said Graham.

1 min read

Grangemouth keeps options open

INEOS O&P UK is in talks with several different companies interested in relocating to Grangemouth – home of INEOS’ new, £20 million HQ which recently won an award for architectural excellence. Site business development manager Ian Little said no deals had yet been signed but he was confident of the site’s renewed appeal following INEOS’ ground-breaking decision to ship ethane from the US to the Scottish port. “It is very early days at the moment,” he said. “We’ve had preliminary discussions with a small number of chemical manufacturing companies.” INEOS’ vision for the Grangemouth site is that, by 2020, it will become a leading global chemical manufacturing hub and a centre of excellence. Its new HQ certainly helps to give off an air of confidence. In March this year, that renewed confi dence was felt when the four-storey building, which had been designed by one of Scotland’s leading fi rm of architects, picked up a prize at the 4th annual Scottish Property Awards in Edinburgh. “For us, the building signals our ongoing commitment to creating a world class manufacturing site at Grangemouth,” said John McNally, CEO INEOS Olefins & Polymers UK. The new offices, though, which have brought the 450 people who work for INEOS Olefins & Polymers together for the first time since INEOS bought the site from BP in 2005, are just one part of INEOS’ long-term, £450 million investment into its 1,700- acre Grangemouth site. The shipments of shale gas, which began arriving at Grangemouth late last year, have breathed new life into the site and brought about a renaissance in petrochemical manufacturing.

2 min read