EDISON – As the chemical industry remains one of the largest industries in the state, the LyondellBasell Edison Plant is a prime example of why.
Celebrating 90 years this year, the plant, with Antero Oretega-Velazco at the helm as site manager, is thriving with an estimated economic impact of $19.6 million, which includes yearly total for goods and services purchases and employee pay and benefits, according to the company. The impact does not include raw materials purchased.
The LyondellBasell Edison Plant, which manufactures the company’s Avant ZN catalysts used in the production of polypropylene plastic resins, is also in the midst of a $120 million expansion, which is expected to bring in approximately 150 additional contractors.
The project completion is expected for June 2020 with the goal to make product by August 2020, Edison Plant officials said.
The company’s location at 340 Meadow Road has been a manufacturing site since 1929, but has changed products and ownership many times. It is now a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility serving as the supplier of polyethylene and polypropylene catalysts to the company’s customers worldwide. The products are used in the manufacture of automotive parts, plastic toys, containers and home furnishings, according to its website.
Oretega-Velazco welcomed dignitaries – Edison Councilman Joseph Coyle, Assemblywoman Nancy Pinkin (D-Middlesex) and Dennis Hart, executive director of Chemical Council of New Jersey – community members, retirees and employees as the company celebrated 90 years of safe and reliable operation at the plant on Aug. 28.
There are eight multi-generational families employed or who have been employed at the location, including the Murphy family: Raymond Murphy II, Raymond Murphy III and Raymond Murphy IV. Collectively they have spent over 40 years working at the facility.
“I have seen a lot of changes over the years,” said Murphy II. a retiree. “There’s a significant difference in the physical footprint because so many buildings have been constructed. But we’ve also adjusted our product lines. It’s all part of the changing times and growth is good.”
One thing that has remained consistent is the safety culture, and the high standards are one reason the family is comfortable bringing relatives on staff, he said.
LyondellBasell is one of the largest plastics, chemicals and refining companies in the world incorporated in the Netherlands with United States and global operations. The company sells products to more than 100 countries and is the world’s largest producer of polymer compounds and the largest licensor of polyolefin technologies, according to the company website.
Coyle, who attended the celebration on behalf of Edison Mayor Thomas Lankey, said the township appreciates the impact the company has on the community.
“Your problems are our problems, your success is our success, whether it is from public safety and homeland security to hiring more people, we care,” he said. “I am happy to see that you decided to expand and stay [in the township]. Listening to your success … [the company is] really truly valuable to Edison, a $20 million impact to the community and 68 employees is wonderful. We welcome your expansion and welcome a stronger relationship everyday.”
Pinkin, on behalf of fellow District 18 legislators Assemblyman Robert Karabinchak and state Senator Patrick Diegnan, presented the company with a joint Assembly and Senate resolution saluting the company “as a titan of the industry.”
“This facility led to not only the growth of business in Edison, but also in the global business that the company represents,” she said. “Covering 100 acres in Edison, it is so great to see the jobs that are being provided, employing 65 employees and contractors and supporting schools and community services.”
Pinkin said as chair of the Assembly’s Environmental Committee and vice chair of the Assembly’s Health Committee, there is a lot of crossover between health and the environment.
“Everybody thinks the chemicals in plastics are evil and they’re bad, but working in healthcare, they say the same thing about immunizations,” she said. “But until you need the product … we can’t live without these products. These products have changed our lives in so many ways. When you come in and look at the [LyondellBasell] products that are out in front or the products on display, it is important to realize that we can’t throw out the baby with the bathwater.”
Hart said what is going to make New Jersey great again is to put the focus on manufacturing.
“The business of chemistry in New Jersey is a positive contribution to New Jersey’s economy,” he said. “We still are the largest manufacturing industry in New Jersey, a $25 billion dollar industry. Artero is on our board of directors, he’s always positive and if you are going to run a chemical plant in New Jersey, you need an optimistic personality.”
In 2017, the LyondellBasell Edison Plant received an American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers Elite Silver Safety Award and Chemistry Council of New Jersey Chairman’s Award.
For more information about LyondellBasell Industries, visit www.lyondellbasell.com.