Plans to create a GBP2bn crude oil processing plant remain on course despite the global economic downturn, developers have said.
Sonhoe Development Company announced more than a year ago that it planned to build a refinery at Wilton, on Teesside, which will become one of the largest of its kind in Europe.
The project is expected to create about 2,500 jobs during construction and another 400 jobs once it is operational, with estimates of another 1,500 ancillary jobs being created.
It is predicted that the plant, which is expected to be operating by 2014, will make up about ten percent of a forecast diesel deficit in Europe of about 50million tonnes a year, by 2015.
However, despite the apparent lack of movement since the initial plans were revealed in October 2007, the developers say the project remains on schedule, with commercially sensitive due diligence being carried out over the past 14 months, with developers working "flat out" to make the scheme a reality.
Neil Kenley, strategic investment and marketing director for Tees Va lley Regeneration (TVR) said the necessity for oil production had not been diminished by the credit crunch.
"Plans to build the plant in the Tees Va lley remain on schedule, " he said.
"Commercially sensitive due diligence continues behind the scenes and the team behind the plant is working flat out with TVR to finalize the scheme.
"Despite the global economic downturn the fundamentals of the project still stack up.Millions of barrels of heavy crude are being extracted from oil wells across the globe and millions of barrels of heavy crude remain in the ground. There is a worldwide demand for diesel which continues to increase on an annual basis. There is an estimated 50 million-tonne-per annum shortage of diesel forecasted for Europe by 2015.
This Tees Valley facility wouldmake up between seven to ten percent of this deficit. " The development, once given planning approval, would represent one of the largest single investments in the process industry in the UK in the past 20 years.
It will process 200,000 barrels of heavy crude oil a day, producing high-quality, low sulfur diesel, petrochemical feedstock naphtha and kerosene, as well as hydrogen.
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