§ Mr. Skeet
asked the Secretary of State for Industry (1) what is the capacity of ethylene crackers in the United Kingdom including the joint ICI-BP project under construction at Teesside;
(2) what he estimates to be the likely capacity of ethylene crackers by 1985 bearing in mind market conditions for petrochemical derivatives; and how many additional plants could be accommodated bearing in mind market requirements and feedstock availability.
Mr. Alan Williams
Ethylene capacity in the United Kingdom once the cracker building at Teesside is finished will be about 2.1 million tonnes a year. As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Industry told my hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, West (Mr. Dean) on 10th November, the industrial strategy 235W for petrochemicals developed by the Tripartite Working Party of the National Economic Development Council and endorsed by the Government foresees the construction of another four crackers by about 1985 to meet the expected growth of United Kingdom consumption and to make a major contribution to exports. This would imply up to nearly double the present capacity, but, as my right hon. Friend indicated, will depend on how prospective demand actually develops in the meantime and on the plans for increasing feedstock supplies now under consideration.