Hull is home to some of BP’s most innovative operations. We own and operate a chemical manufacturing facility which is the largest producer of acetic acid and acetic anhydride in Europe
BP is at the forefront of research and technology in the petrochemicals field, and Hull is one of our principle global centres for petrochemicals research and technology. In addition, Hull hosts part of BP’s Centre of Expertise in Applied Chemistry and Physics (AC&P).
BP is one of seven world-class chemicals and energy businesses which operate from Saltend Chemicals Park.
Our facility in Hull manufactures acetic acid and acetic anhydride. Both chemicals are key building blocks for a wide range of applications including paints, coatings and washing detergents, as well as the preservation of food. Acetic acid is one of the most versatile organic chemicals, with applications in almost every industry and acetic anhydride is a powerful acetylating agent used in the manufacture of pharmaceuticals and detergents.
Over the past 50 years, BP has supported the local community with a number of partnerships. These include the Schools Link programme, which was launched in 1968, 25 years of support for the Humberside Police Lifestyle project, as well as Humber Business Week, Hull Pride, Humber Street Sesh and C4DI. BP was also one of the original private companies whose support helped the city win the bid for Hull, UK City of Culture 2017. And, employees at the Hull site have raised more than £200,000 for local charities in the last eight years.
BP has been researching technologies in the UK for more than 100 years.
The Cativa® process is a world-leading technology and a pioneering approach to making acetic acid. Cativa® is the method used for producing acetic acid by carbonylation of methanol using an iridium catalyst system. This technology was developed by a team in Hull in the 1990s and commercialised in 1995.
Teams in Hull have also developed the SaaBre™ process – a new route for the production of acetic acid by converting synthesis gas directly to acetic acid in a proprietary, integrated three-step process. Find out more about SaaBre™.
History – highlights
- 1967: British Hydrocarbon Chemicals (hereafter BP Chemicals Ltd) takes over the Saltend site
- 1968: BP Hull is the inventive founder of the Schools Link programme, which was launched in 1968. The purpose is to inspire young people to consider STEM subjects and business through face-to-face engagement with BP employees. This typically includes work experience placements, mentors for students, spending time in schools volunteering/giving talks for example. (link to bp schools link pages)
- 1982: A4 acetic acid plant opened
- 1989: A5 plant opened. This plant produces both acetic acid and acetic anhydride. At the time it was the biggest engineering project in Great Britain with the exception of the Channel Tunnel. The A5 Plant is the only plant of its type in the world.
- 1991: The new laboratories complex opened and changed its name to Hull Research and Technology Centre (since 2016, this has been called Petrochemicals technology)
- 2000: Central Control Room (CCR) opened. BP Hull was chosen for a Manufacturing Excellence project and this enabled us to centralise the operations and bring shift operators away from the plant and operate within a shared space with other partners on site.
- 2014: - Saltend Chemicals Park marks its centenary
- 2017: BP Hull celebrates 50 years of operations at Saltend Chemicals Park
- 2017: BP is a major corporate sponsor of Hull UK City of Culture 2017 (link to press release)
- 2017: BP, and Accsys Technologies through its subsidiary Tricoya Technologies Limited (TTL) and Medite announce the creation of a consortium, Tricoya Ventures UK Limited (TVUK). This new company will build and operate the world’s first Tricoya® wood elements acetylation plant, which will be located on the Saltend Chemicals Park.