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Gelsenkirchen: The restructuring of Veba Oel AG, Germany's leading oil company, and in particular the prospects for the refinery and petrochemicals location, Gelsenkirchen: These subjects topped the agenda during today's visit by NRW Minister of Economics, Ernst Schwanhold.
Mr. Schwanhold discussed the possibilities for growth in the petrochemical sector and resulting development opportunities for Gelsenkirchen and the Emscher-Lippe region with Mr. Wilhelm Bonse-Geuking, Chairman of the Veba Oel Board of Management, and Veba Oel Board member, Dr. Walter Thünker. The NRW Minister of Economics again underlined the NRW government's intention to expand the Emscher-Lippe region into a chemical location which is internationally competitive and attractive to foreign investors. He mentioned that the NRW government had already launched the "ChemSite" and "ChemVision" initiatives in a pact with industrial companies in the region, including Veba Oel and Degussa Hüls. These initiatives are designed to create new, long-term jobs for the people in the region.
Veba Oel boss, Mr. Bonse-Geuking, repeated Veba Oel's promise to support the NRW government in its efforts to revive the Emscher-Lippe region. Mr. Bonse-Geuking: "The solidarity between the NRW government and regional industry is most welcome and exemplary. As one of the largest employers and trainers, we feel we have a particular responsibility towards the people in this region. We are prepared to invest with partners in the further expansion of petrochemicals capacity in Gelsenkirchen provided we see definite additional demand to warrant the capital expenditure. However, the scale of investment required - DM 1.5 to 2 billion - means Veba Oel cannot go it alone."
Mr. Bonse-Geuking called the partnership agreed in 1997 between Veba Oel and the Dutch chemical company DSM a trend-setting and encouraging example. "As a result, DSM has invested roughly DM 1 billion in Gelsenkirchen. Ruhr Oel GmbH, the joint venture of Veba Oel and the Venezuelan company PdVSA, has spent another DM 100 million on the extension of its olefin production plant to cover the rising demand of DSM. DSM's decision to invest here indicates the attractiveness of this region as a location for the chemical industry."