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Dow shutdown set to go ahead

October 12/2009
October, 12 (nebusiness.co.uk) -- Dow confirmed today that it would continue to implement a shutdown of the country’s only ethylene oxide and glycol plant at Wilton as a 90-day consultation with workers came to an end and hopes of a sale receded.

The announcement was a formality in what has become a touchstone issue for the UK petrochemicals industry and follows a meeting on Wednesday between process industry and engineering chiefs to thrash out a response to widespread criticism that the sector was not doing enough to preserve vital infrastructure.

Fifty-five jobs at Dow will go when the plant closes at the end of the year. The company said there may be an opportunity to relocate some of those staff to other Dow sites, three of which are on Teesside. “Our care is for our employees,” said a spokesperson. She said there had been a “tremendous amount of rumour” about a potential rescue but the company had not received any formal approach, although it had “always been open to them”.

The company said it was co-operating with a scoping exercise by One North East, which may yet come up with an alternative use for the site. In a statement, it added: “Decisions to shut down a facility are not taken lightly. A comprehensive review of potential options has been conducted prior to and during the employee consultation period. Though a workable solution was not identified, we still remain open to alternatives.”

Dow blamed several factors for the decision to close the EOEG plant when it made the announcement in June, including the site’s “disadvantaged input costs”.

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