The Botany Industrial Park (BIP)
The ICI Era
In 1942, Imperial Chemical Industries of Australia and New Zealand (ICIANZ), part of the UK-based ICI Plc Group, began producing carbon bisulphide as the first chemical to be made at its new Botany site in Sydney. Quickly following the carbon bisulphide plant, the ChlorAlkali Plant was built. These early manufacturing plants were an essential element of Australia's war effort as the importation of many of these chemicals was disrupted by the World War II. The company went on to produce a range of chemicals used in a multitude of domestic and industrial products. These chemicals and typical uses have included, amongst others:
- polyethylene for plastic film and containers
- solvents such as perchlorethylene for dry cleaning fluids
- polyvinyl chloride for plastic pipes and electrical insulation
- ammonium nitrate and urea for fertilizers
- surfactants used to make detergents.
- chlorine and caustic products for water treatment and swimming pools
- polypropylene used for car
- bumpers and interiors
From ICI to Orica
Having operated the Botany site for approximately 55 years under the umbrella of the parent company ICI Plc, in July 1997 the Australian and New Zealand operations became an independent Australasian company when ICI Plc divested its 62.4 percent shareholding in ICI Australia Ltd. As a result of the selldown, the new company became Orica Ltd in February 1998.
Botany Industrial Park (BIP) Today - Joint Ownership and Operation: Orica, Qenos, Huntsman
Botany Industrial Park (BIP) is currently owned and operated by three different companies: Orica, Qenos, and Huntsman. Following the changes in ownership and name in 1998, Orica conducted a review of company strategy and operations. Having subdivided the BIP site, Orica sold its surfactants business to Huntsman in 1998. In 1999 a polyolefines joint venture called Qenos was formed between Orica and ExxonMobil, which was subsequently sold to China National Chemical Corporation in 2005.
The BIP produces an annual community brochure with emergency response information and a safety and environmental performance update. Annual BIP Safety, Health and Environment Update
Orica Plants in Operation at BIP
Orica now owns approximately 40% of land at the BIP, and owns and operates the following two plants:
- ChlorAlkali plant
- Groundwater Treatment Plant (GTP)
The ChlorAlkali plant is the only ongoing chemical manufacturing plant owned by Orica at BIP. The plant was commissioned in 2002 and designed for a minimum operating life of 20 years. The chlorine business remains strong and it is envisaged that the operation of this plant will extend beyond 2022.
The GTP was constructed specifically for one of the Botany Transformation Projects. The plant is designed to treat contaminated groundwater and to contain the contaminated groundwater plumes and produce high quality water suitable for reuse on the BIP and by nearby industrial customers.
Major Hazard Facility (MHF)
Orica's continuous operations on the Botany Site have been deemed to be a Major Hazard Facility (MHF) and as such, is required to satisfy the requirements of the NSW Work Health and Safety (WHS) Regulation, 2011 - notably Chapter 9 relating to MHF in order to be registered and thus approved to operate. Orica has prepared and submitted a Safety Report that forms part of the application for registration. It provides a written presentation of technical, management and operational information about the hazards and risks that may lead to a major accident and the control of these hazards and risks.
Orica Australia Pty Ltd, as the MHF operator, is responsible for eliminating the risk of a major incident and, if elimination is not reasonably practicable, reducing the risk from a major incident to as low as reasonably practicable (ALARP). The MHF operator must ensure that adequate and documented systems are in place to prevent major incident and near misses at the facility and to minimise the effects of major incident that might occur at the facility.
Orica Australia Pty Ltd implemented Safety, Health and Environmental (SH&E) Management System, processes, procedures and practices that have been developed are fit for purpose and verified by audits. The control measures adopted for the major incident scenarios are appropriate for controlling the hazards and for maintaining the risk of major incidents at ALARP levels.
Continuous safe operation of the facilities is ensured by the SH&E Management System. This provides a comprehensive and integrated management system for all aspects of control measures and is based on the Orica Group SH&E Standards and Model Procedures.
A number of the Orica Model Procedures have been identified as critical for safe operation at the facilities. The core and critical procedures control significant risks and require adequate training for relevant facility personnel and regular auditing.
The ongoing adequacy of SH&E Management System for all Orica facilities is maintained by a process that requires a Letter of Assurance to be authorised by the responsible Business Unit Managers and submitted to the Board annually, as evidence of the systems effectiveness.
The Orica Southlands site is an approximately 20 hectares of undeveloped land fronting McPherson Street, Banksmeadow. It does not form part of the BIP. The site is zoned for industrial use and is home to groundwater extraction wells and pipework for the Botany Groundwater Cleanup Project.
Over recent years Orica has developed plans to develop the site in stages for a new warehousing facility.
Following an extensive planning and assessment phase, Orica received Project Approval for Stage 1 of the Southlands Remediation and Development Project in April 2012 and work on the project is now underway.