Tarragona’s chemical hub represents 25% of Spanish total
The chemical industries based in Tarragona, such as BASF, Dow Chemical and Repsol, expect their turnover to increase by 4% in 2012 compared to a year ago. In 2011, they exported 60% of their production, while in 2000 they were only exporting 30% of it. Furthermore, they have requested transport infrastructures to be improved and criticised the increase in energy taxes. About Catalonia’s hypothetical independence, they stated they “will respect what will be decided and will adapt to it”. These companies represent around 7% of Catalonia’s GDP.
Tarragona (ACN).- On Tuesday, the Association of Chemical Companies of Tarragona (AEQT) presented its 2012 report with data from 2011. Tarragona is the main chemical hub in Spain and one of the most important in Southern Europe. It represents 25% of Spain\u2019s chemical sector and around 7% of Catalonia\u2019s GDP. The chemical industries based in Tarragona, such as BASF, Dow Chemical, Bayer, Ercros and Repsol, expect to increase their global turnover for 2012 by 4%, reaching \u20AC14.5 billion. The AEQT report explains that in 2011 Tarragona\u2019s chemical hub was exporting 60% of its production while in 2000 this share only represented 30%. During the report\u2019s presentation, the AEQT \u2013 which groups the business owners of the chemical companies \u2013 also put its main claims upfront. AEQT\u2019s Chairman, Joan Pedrerol, stated that their main concern is to improve transport infrastructure, mainly the international-width standard railway connection between Central Europe and Tarragona\u2019s port. This project has been delayed many times by the Spanish Government, but now it has included the connection with Tarragona harbour in its 2013 budget. \u201CWe need this now\u201D in order to export, emphasised Pedrerol, who celebrated this inclusion but lamented the lack of funds for other strategic projects, such as the A-27 motorway. He also criticised the increase in energy taxes as they might have an effect on competitiveness. Besides this, regarding Catalonia\u2019s hypothetical independence, Pedrerol stated: \u201Cwe will respect what will be decided and we will adapt to it\u201D.
Tarragona\u2019s chemical industry leads Spain\u2019s chemical sector and exports. Tarragona\u2019s petrochemical hub exported 60% of its production, while the sector\u2019s average in Spain is 50%. In the last 11 years, the exports from Tarragona\u2019s chemical hub have been growing annually by 8% on average. In 2000 exports represented 30% of the production and by 2011 they had reached 60%.
AEQT\u2019s turnover to increase by 4% in 2012
Forecasts indicate that the AEQT companies\u2019 turnover will reach \u20AC14.5 billion in 2012, 4% more than in the previous year. This means they represent 25% of Spain\u2019s entire petrochemical industry, which expects a global turnover of \u20AC57.8 billion. Tarragona\u2019s chemical hub expects to continue this growth, especially regarding exports. According to forecasts, they would add \u20AC700 additional million to the annual turnover by 2014.
However, the increase of energy costs is an obstacle they will have to face. \u201CWe have set up 1,190 MW of power, 820 MW of which come from combined cycle plants. Therefore, we will have to watch out in order not to lose competitiveness\u201D because of the energy tax increase, explained Pedrerol. He criticised the tax increase decided by the Spanish Government in order to cover the electric companies\u2019 deficit. \u201CThe energy sector should be at the service of companies, and not the other way round\u201D, he stated.
On Catalonia\u2019s independence: \u201Cwe will respect it [\u2026] and we will adapt to it\u201D
Asked about a hypothetical independent Catalonia, the AEQT stated they \u201Cwill adapt to it\u201D if it came. They stated they are much more concerned about economic issues, such as infrastructure projects, than about political debates. \u201CWe will respect what will be decided and we will adapt to it\u201D, stated Pedrerol, who clarified that the companies would not abandon Tarragona in this scenario.
Improving infrastructures is the main concern
Pedrerol insisted that their main concerns are the building of infrastructure projects such as the railway connection linking Tarragona\u2019s port with Central Europe through international-width standard railway, which would allow trains to go non-stop from Tarragona\u2019s chemical plants to Central Europe and to the city harbour. The Spanish Government has finally budgeted \u20AC50 million in 2013 to build the international-width connection with Tarragona\u2019s port. Pedrerol celebrated this investment, but lamented the delay and that other projects such as the A-27 motorway have no budget. \u201CWhat gives confidence to companies is putting infrastructures as a priority\u201D, he stated. \u201COur hub\u2019s road map focuses on people\u2019s talent, product innovation and competitiveness\u2019 increase\u201D, he concluded.