A new £2 billion crude-oil processing facility is to be built by the Sonhoe Development Company in the Tees Valley in the north east.

The new facility has been designed to process 200,000 barrels a day of heavy crude oil into high-quality, low-sulphur diesel, petrochemical feedstock naptha and kerosene for use in the UK or for export.

The plant will also incorporate the production of hydrogen and would be one of the largest hydrogen producing plants in Europe.

Sonhoe managing director Mike True said the project was the culmination of several years of planning: “We are still in the early stages of this project but the fundamentals for this facility are very strong – the technology is proven and has been demonstrated to work in many other facilities around the world – we are confident this development will bring significant benefits to the region, to the UK and to Europe as a whole over a long period of time.”

The development timescale through to completion is five to seven years. Sonhoe plans to source the heavy oil from the North Sea, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and other regions of the world.