CHICAGO – Gov. Rod Blagojevich today announced the awarding of a package of Opportunity Returns grants totaling more than $1.3 million to BP’s olefins and derivatives (O&D) unit, which it expects to sell in an IPO later this year. This Opportunity Returns support was an important factor behind the new company’s decision to base 340 jobs in the Chicagoland area. The new company’s headquarters, which will house approximately 125 staff, will be based in downtown Chicago at the Aon Center, while an additional 215 employees will be based in DuPage County.
“We’re thrilled to welcome BP’s new subsidiary to Illinois. With the addition of another prominent and proven company to Chicago, we are continuing to attract an all-star collection of corporate talent that is distinguishing Illinois as a world-class place to live and do business. More importantly, we are continuing to diversify, strengthen and grow this economy at a vigorous pace that will yield more jobs and more prosperity over the long-term for the people of this great state,” Gov. Blagojevich said.
On April 27, 2004, BP announced plans to consolidate the olefins and derivatives division of its petrochemicals business into a stand-alone entity operating separately from the BP Group. The new company will have more than $9 billion in capital employed and more than 15 million metric tons of petrochemical production volumes per year – making it among the five largest olefin and derivatives companies in the world.
“This generous package of grants confirms our belief that Illinois is one of the most pro-business environments in the country: a major factor behind our decision to locate our headquarters and Global Derivatives operating unit in the Chicagoland area,” said Ralph Alexander, chief executive of BP O&D. “Add to this world-class transport links, a robust corporate services sector, first rate-universities and excellent local amenities, and there is really nowhere better for a new global company to be based.”
The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) will provide the support for the new company. DCEO will make available a Large Business Development Program (LBDP) grant, as well as funding through its Employer Training Investment Program to help the yet un-named subsidiary train its new employees.
“Everyone knows that the city of Chicago offers a marvelous quality of life, but, over the last couple of years, Gov. Blagojevich has aggressively spread the word that Illinois is a marvelous place to do business. By investing heavily in education and building a flexible and highly-skilled workforce, the Governor is successfully creating a supportive business climate that top-flight companies like BP know they can thrive in,” State Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago) said.
A number of office properties are being considered in DuPage County. Leaders of the new company hope to move into new office locations during the next several months. BP plans to establish the new company as an independent, U.S.-listed concern that would rank in the Fortune 150. The company’s name has yet to be chosen.
“BP’s decision to locate the global headquarters for its new subsidiary in Chicago is another indication that Gov. Blagojevich continues to make the kinds of investments that are critical to fostering a healthy, diverse and vibrant economy. Moreover, it shows that by providing aggressive outreach, hands-on support and an attractive package of investments, we can act as an invaluable resource to business,” DCEO Director Jack Lavin said.
BP O&D manufactures petrochemicals used to make a wide variety of plastic goods, including food, drink containers and wrappings, pipework, automotive parts and moldings of all kinds. Full details of BP petrochemicals sites, products, production capacities and regional summaries can be found in the “financial and operating information” download section of the bp.com website.
Gov. Blagojevich’s Opportunity Returns regional economic development strategy is the most aggressive, comprehensive approach to creating jobs in Illinois’ history. Since a one-size-fits-all approach to economic development just doesn’t work, the Governor has divided the state into 10 regions – each with a regional team that is empowered and expected to rapidly respond to opportunities and challenges. Opportunity Returns is about tangible, specific actions to make each region more accessible, more marketable, more entrepreneurial and more attractive to businesses. It is about upgrading the skills of the local workforce, increasing the access to capital, opening new markets, improving infrastructure, and creating and retaining jobs. Opportunity Returns is about successfully partnering with companies and communities, both large and small, to help all of Illinois reach its economic potential.