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Lenzing, Grimsby

The south bank of the Humber estuary in England is a relatively unpopulated area containing large scale industrial development built from the 1950s onward, including national scale petroleum and chemical plants as well as gigawatt scale gas fired power stations.

Historically the south bank was undeveloped, and mostly unpopulated, excluding the medieval port of Grimsby and lesser havens at Barton upon Humber and Barrow upon Humber. Industrial activity increased from the 19th century onwards, primarily brick and tile works utilising the clay extracted from the banks of the Humber; this plus the addition of chalk extraction at the edge of the Lincolnshire Wolds formed the basis of cement industries. Grimsby expanded during the industrial 19th century, and Immingham Dock was established in 1911, and a large scale cement works established near South Ferriby in 1938. Most of the brick and tile works ceased operation in around the 1950s.

From the 1950s onwards a number of chemical plants were built between Immingham and Grimsby, and two major oil refineries built south of Immingham Dock in the 1960s. Growth and development of the oil and chemical industries took place through the 20th century with some contraction of chemical works occurring in the late 20th century.

At the end of the 20th century and beginning of the 21st century a number of combined cycle gas turbine power stations were built (see also dash for gas), some of which utilised 'waste' steam to provide nearby petroleum and chemical plants with heat energy. During the same time frame a large area of former clay workings from earlier brick and tile activity was converted into water parks in the Barton area.

The port of Grimsby, was a significant local town and market in the medieval period, with fish being the predominant traded good. From around the 14th century the port's importance in international trade diminished, in part due to competition from Hull, Boston, as well as the Hanseatic League; whilst coastal trade and inland waterway trade became more important. In addition to fish a trade foodstuffs also took place, as well as coals from Newcastle and the export of peat dug in Yorkshire. Grimsby's population declined from around 1,400 in 1377 to around 750 by 1600 and to around 400 by the early 1700s. In the late 1700s a new dock was built at Grimsby, under the engineer John Rennie, opened 1800. In the 1840s the Sheffield, Ashton-under-Lyne and Manchester Railway constructed a rail line to the town, and a new dock was constructed in the same period; the town redeveloped as a port, and its growth re-initiated. Several new docks constructed between 1850 and 1900 with a third fish dock added in 1934. Rail connections linked the port to South Yorkshire, Lancashire and the Midlands; the net tonnage handled by the port increased from 163,000 in the 1850s to 3,777,000 by 1911. The port was also a major fishing centre, landing around 20% of the total UK catch (1934). The town's population rose consistently from 1,500 in 1801, to 75,000 in 1901, and to 92,000 in 1931. Neighbouring Cleethorpes also developed as a residential area for Grimsby as well as a seaside resort during the 19th century. In the 20th century, port based industries formed the main economic activities, with fishing being particularly important, influencing other industries in the town, specifically food processing, in particular frozen foods. In the late 1960s around 3,500 were employed directly in the fishing industry; 10,000 were employed in food industries of which 6,000 was fish processing activities; 2,500 in shipbuilding and repair; other lesser employment activities included engineering, and timber related businesses. Most of Grimsby's industries were concentrated on the Dock's estate, and later Pyewipe, west of the main centre.

Business Established History
British Titan Products 1949 British Titan Products Co. Ltd. (BTP) established a plan for the production of Titanium dioxide from Ilmenite via a sulphur process to the north east of Great Coates (Pyewipe) on the Humber bank near Grimsby. Initial production was 20,000t per year, increased to 100,000t in the 1960s. The company was renamed BTP Tioxide c. 1976. The plant became part of the Huntsman Corporation in 1999. Overcapacity and competition led to redundancies in the 2000s, and in 2009 the plant ceased operations. In 2013 the 110 acres (45 ha) site was offered for sale for industrial use.

A 13+9 MW combined heat and power gas and steam turbine plant (established 2003) owned by RWE NPower remains on site.

Fisons 1950 Fisons Fertilizers was built adjacent southeast of Immingham Dock, for the production of superphosphate and compound fertilizers (NPK). In the 1960s ICI entered into an arrangement with Fisons for the supply of ammonia to the company, and agreed to construct an ammonia plant to supply Fison's Immingham site. Fisons also began an expansion of phosphoric acid capacity at its Imminghame site in the same period. The ICI plant at Immingham had a production capacity of 200,000 t per year, and was operational by the end of the 1966. In 1982 Fisons sold its Fertilizer business to Norsk Hydro.

In the late 1980s Norsk Hydro built an ammonium nitrate fertilizer plant at Immingham. In 2000 the company announced it was to close the ammonium nitrate and nitric acid plant at Immingham, resulting in 150 redundancies and ending fertilizer manufacture at the site.

In 2004 Norsk Hydro's fertilizer business was demerged as Yara International. As of 2014 Yara operates a dry ice plant at Immingham, as well as operating a distribution centre for liquid fertilizer products.

CIBA 1951 CIBA Laboratories Ltd. established a plant on the Humber bank, north of Great Coates near Grimsby for the manufacture of chemicals and pharmaceuticals. Initial production was antibacterial agent Sulfathiazole (branded as Cibazol). The plant became part of Ciba Chemicals in 1962, and part of Ciba-Geigy in 1971 after the parent company merged. The plant's production included agrochemicals, plastics intermediates, and pharmaceuticals. Plant facilities were expanded in the 1970s, and 1990s/2000s. In 1996 the plant became part of Ciba-Geogy successor Novartis. In 2005 a production facility for drug Diovan was opened. Much of the plant's production is of pharmaceutical intermediates, produced for export to other plants.

In 1992 Ciba completed a £230 million expansion to the Grimsby plant, including two production units, an 8 MW gas fired CHP power plant, and an effluent treatment plant.

In the mid 1990s Allied Colloids (Bradford) established at production facility between the Ciba and Courtlauld's plants near Grimsby. Allied Colloids was acquired by Ciba Specialty Chemicals (Ciba-Geigy group spin off, 1996) in 1998.

The Allied Colloids site at Grimsby was included in BASF's 2008 acquisitions. In 2010 BASF Performance Products plc was formed incorporating former Ciba plants; the subsidiary was merged in to BASF plc in 2013.

Laporte Titianium 1953 National Titanium Pigments Ltd. (after 1953 Laporte Titanium Ltd.) a subsidiary of Laporte established a plant for the production of Titanium dioxide from Ilmenite by a sulphur process to the south east of Immingham Dock on the Humber bank.

In the 1950s Laporte was seeking a site for expansion from its titanium dioxide plant in Kingsway, Luton – the company had acquired 40 acres (16 ha) of land near Grimsby in 1947 for £4,000, but the nearby land was acquired by BTP and the land was sold another site was sought. A 100 acres (40 ha) site near Stallingborough containing a former coastal gun battery was acquired, as a result the plant became known as the 'Battery works'. Construction (contracted to Taylor Woodrow) began 1950 with 2500 piles driven to stabilise the ground. In addition to the rail connection an estuary pier was also constructed (reconstructed 1955). Simon Carves was contracted to build the 100t per day pyrites fueled sulphuric acid plant. Both the acid and pigment plant became operational in 1953, with a workforce of about 280. Initial planned capacity was 8000t per year in two streams; the production capacity was increased by 8 times over the next 15 years, including extension to the acid production, with a sulphur burning plant (Simon Carves) operational by 1958, and a third acid plant built in 1961.

A research laboratory was opened in 1960. Other production at the site included phthalic anhydride (1966), through a joint venture "Laporte-Synres" with Chemische Industrie Synres (Netherlands); and the synthetic clay laponite (1968). A plant producing titanium diozide pigment by the chloride process was commissioned in 1970, and expansion begun in 1976. By 1977 employment was nearly 1600.

In 1980/1, in part due to increased energy costs, Laporte announced it was to shut down its 40,000t titanium dioxide pa sulphate process with the loss of 1,000 jobs; later reduced to a halving of production. In 1983/4 Laporte sold its titanium dioxide business to SCM Corporation (USA), the Laponite production facilities were subsequently transferred to Laporte in Widness. Further expansion of the chloride process for titanium dioxide by SCM led to a production capacity of 78,000 pa by 1986, whilst production capacity via the sulphate process was 31,000t pa.

In 1990 SCM announced it was to reduce production by 24,000t from 110,000t pa to comply with EEC environmental regulations. SCM was acquired by Hanson plc (1986), which demerged Millennium Chemicals (1996), then acquired by Lyondell Chemical Company in 2004. An expansion of titanium dioxide production in 1995 to 1999 increased capacity to 15,000t pa.

Millennium Inorganic Chemicals was acquired by Cristal (National Titanium Dioxide Company Limited) in 2007. In 2009 the plant employed 400 workers; production was halted temporarily after European demand dropped 35% due to recession.

There have been a number of incidents involving titanium tetrachloride at the plant. In 2010 a container containing titanium tetrachloride ruptured killing one person, and injuring two other two inhalation and burns of the toxic substance. In 2012 the Health and Safety Executive stopped production for 3 months after the release of titanium tetrachloride in 2011.

A twin 6 MW has turbine plus 3 MW steam turbine is operated by NPower Cogen (since 2004, formerly TXU Energy) at the site.

John Bull Rubber 1955 John Bull Rubber established a factory near Grimsby in 1955. John Bull Rubber was acquired by Dunlop in 1959. The factory produced rubber hoses, and is still in operation as of 2012 as part of Dunlop Oil & Marine.
Courtaulds 1957 Courtaulds Ltd. established a plant for the production of Viscose from wood pulp via the carbon disulphide process, and for Acrylic fibre via acrylonitrile polymerisation on the Humber bank roughly halfway between Immingham and Grimsby docks. Capacity was 100,000,000 pounds (45,000 t) of rayon, with the acrylic plant opened in 1957 with an initial capacity of 10,000,000 pounds (4,500 t) of Courtelle, increased to 100,000,000 pounds (45,000 t) by 1969; the plant was further expanded in the 1960s and early 1970s. At a peak it employed around 2800. In the 1980s foreign competition and the establishment of production in former client markets led to the beginning of a decline in employment.

Akzo Nobel acquired the plant in 1998, forming the company Acordis after merging with its own fibre business, which was divested to CVC Capital Partners in 1999.

In 2004 production facilities for Tencel were sold to Lenzing. As of 2013 the plant had a capacity of 40,000t per year of Lyocell/Tencell.

The other production plant (as part of Accordis), entered administration in 2005 at which point employment had been reduced to 475, was restarted as Fibres Worldwide with a workforce of 275, but entered administration in 2006. The plant being acquired by Bluestar Group (china) in late 2006, with the product used as a carbon fibre precursor (Polyacrylonitrile). Production ended in 2013 due to loss of demand,

A 48 MW gas powered CH&P power station at the site was spun off as Humber Energy Ltd. in 2005 whilst the parent was in administration; the firm was acquired by GDF Suez subsidiary Cofely in 2013.

In mid 2015 a 1,200,000 square feet (110,000 m2) building space industrial estate was approved for the site.

Harco / Doverstrand / Revertex 1963 A synthetic latex manufacturing facility was established c. 1962 near Stallingboroug by Doverstrand Ltd, a joint venture of Revertex and International Latex Corporation (later known as Standard Brands Chemical Industries Inc). The plant was expanded c. 1965 to double output. Products included styrene-butadiene Rubber (SBR) and acrylonitrile butadiene latices.

Revertex began production of Lithene (liquid polybutadienes) in 1974 near Stallingborough.

In 1963 the Harlow Chemical Company (Harco) was established as a joint venture between Revertex and Hoescht for chemical production. In 1976 Harco began the construction of a 30,000t pa resin emulsion plant at a greenfield site near Stallingborough, the plant began operations in 1978. Additional dispersion production transferred from Harlow to Stallingborough in 1991.

Revertex was acquired by Yule Catto in 1981. Doverstrand Ltd. (then a Reichhold Chemicals/Yule Catto jv) was renamed Synthomer Ltd. in 1995. In 2001 Yule Catto took over Harco, acquiring the 50% shareholding of partner Clariant, and merged the business into its Synthomer subsidiary in 2002, resulting in the merger of the adjacent Synthomer and Harco activities at Stallingborough.

Latex production ended late 2011, and further adhesive chemical production facilities were established at the site c. 2012.

Total-Fina 1968 Total Oil/Fina established an oil refinery on a 373 acres (151 ha) site, named the Lindsey Oil Refinery (LOR); key factors in the choice of site were the cheapness of available land, and nearby suitable sites for large oil tankers. Initially expectations of output were 250,000 and 150,000 imperial gallons (1,140 and 680 m3) per hour exported by rail and road respectively, from a refining capacity of around 3 million tons per year. Production was a full range of refined oil from heavy fuel oil to liquefied petroleum gas. By the 1969 refinining capacity had been doubled by a second phase. Capacity was increased to 9.6 million tons in the 1970s, and during the 1980s a catalytic cracker, alkylation unit, visbreaker and methyl tert-butyl ether MBTE added.

In 2007 construction of a hydrodesulfurization unit and steam Methane reformer was begun. In 2009 workers at the plant went on strike due to preferential employment of foreign works, leading to a series of sympathy walkouts at other UK chemical, energy and petroleum plants, (see 2009 Lindsey Oil Refinery strikes). The strike delayed the installation of the desulphurisation unit by 6 months. A fire and explosion occurred at the plant in 2010, killing one worker. The fire further delayed the de-sulphurisation unit. The de-sulphurisation unit was official inaugurated in 2011.

In 2010 Total announced it planned to sell the refinery, citing overcapacity; by late 2011 the company had failed to sell the plant, and halted the sales process.

Continental Oil 1969 Continental Oil established an oil refinery on a 380 acres (150 ha) site, named the Humber Oil Refinery; Initial refining capacity was 4.5 million tons per year. In addition to a full range of refined products (heavy fuel oil to liquified petroleum gas), the plant also incorporated an 110,000 ton per year benzene production, and a 250,000 ton electrode grade petroleum coke plant.

The Tetney monobuoy (operational 1971), a SBM in the Humber estuary is used to discharge oil tankers with the oil stored at the Tetney Oil Terminal, and transferred via pipeline.

A fire and explosion occurred at the plant in 2001.

Humber Power Ltd. 1997/1999 The South Humber Bank Power Station was constructed between 1994 and 1997 near the Humber estuary northeast of Stallingborough; The initial development consisting of three 166 MW gas turbines, and 255 MW steam turbine. A second phase was built between 1996 and 1999 with two 166 MW gas turbines and one 171 MW steam turbine. Gas turbines are ABB Alstom GT13E2 machines, with ABB steam turbines and generators. Total power 1.266 GW

The owner Humber Power Limited was a venture of Midland Power, ABB Energy Ventures (ABB Group), Tomen Group, British Energy and TotalFinaElf. Ownership was consolidated in TotalFinaElf, who sold 60% to GB Gas Holdings Ltd., a subsidiary of Centrica (2001). In 2005 Centrica took 100% ownership of the plant.

In early 2014 Centrica began to seek buyers for a number of its gas power plants, including its South Humber and Killingholme plants, in early 2015 it decided to retain the plant, but sought to reduce the output from 1,285 to 540 MW from April 2015. In July 2015 Centrica announced it was to overhaul the gas turbines at a cost of £63 million, increasing total capacity by 14 MW.

ConocoPhillips 2004 The ConocoPhillips' combined heat and power plant was opened in 2004, adjacent to ConocoPhillips Humber Oil Refinery. The power station was built at a cost of £350 million with 734 MW total electric output. The design consisted of two 260 MW General Electric 9FA gas turbines, each connected to a heat recovery steam generator (HRSG) from Nooter Eriksen driving Franco Tosi steam turbines for a further 2x 155 MW output. 'Waste' steam was used to provide thermal power to both the Humber and Lindsey refineries. The plant included two auxiliary boilers to ensure a constant supply of steam for the refineries.

In 2009 the plant was expanded raising generating capacity from 730 to 1,180 MW, with one 285 MW GE 9FB gas turbine, with a 200 MW Toshiba steam turbine driven via a HRSG. Energy production at the plant is primarily determined by heat supply requirements.

In 2013 Vitol acquired the plant through acquisition of Phillips 66 subsidiary Phillips 66 Power Operations Ltd.; the plant was renamed Immingham CHP.

National Power 1994 In 1994 National Power built a 665 MW combined cycle gas fired powerstation near North Killingholme. The plant consisted of three 145 MW gas turbines with a 227 MW steam turbine. NEI ABB Gas Turbines Ltd (ABB group) was contracted to supply the plant on a turnkey contract, with three GT13E gas turbines (145 MW) and a 227 MW steam turbine.

In 2000 NRG Energy acquired the plant (£410 million), and in 2004 Centrica acquired the plant (£142 million) after a fall in electricity prices.

In early 2014 Centrica began to seek buyers for a number of its gas power plants, including its South Humber and Killingholme plants, and in early 2015 began discussion on the closure of the plant, having received no acceptable bids for the plant.

Sometimes referred to as Killingholme A.

Powergen 1992 In 1992 Powergen built a 900 MW combined cycle gas fired powerstation near North Killingholme.

In 1996 a water cooling system was fitted to the plant, designed to reduce plume formation. In 2002 the plant was due to low electricity prices; the plant was restarted in 2005.

In June 2015 E.On announced it was to close the powerstation.

Sometimes referred to as Killingholme B.

  • Fos-sur-Mer (France), Europoort (Netherlands) – similar estuarine areas with post war industrial development
  • Ball, Henry William; Smith Hesleden, William (1969) [1856], The Social History and Antiquities of Barton-upon-Humber 
  • Ellis, S.; Crowther, D.R., eds. (1990), Humber Perspectives : A region through the ages 
  • Hiner, Owen S. (November 1961), "INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT ON SOUTH HUMBERSIDE", Geography, Geographical Association, 46 (4), JSTOR 40565548 
  • Lewis, Peter; Jones, Philip N. (1970), "The Humberside Region", Industrial Britain, David & Charles, ISBN  
  • Pettigrew, Andrew M. (2011) [1985], The Awakening Giant : Continuity and Change in Imperial Chemical Industries 
  • Pevsner, Nikolaus; Harris, John; Antram, Nicholas (1989), "Lincolnshire", The Buildings of England (2nd ed.) 
  • Symes, David, ed. (1987), Humberside in the 1980s, ISBN  
  • Graham, J.M. (2001), From British Titan Products to Huntsman Tioxide: A Company History 1930 to 2000, Huntsman Tioxide 


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