ABOUT 250 new jobs will be created at a North-East specialist chemical plant, The Northern Echo can reveal.

Engineering design firm K Home International (KHI) has signed a deal with SNF Oil and Gas Limited to oversee the development of a new factory making chemical products for the offshore oil and gas industries and water treatment plants.

The factory, which will be built on 40-acres of land near the existing GrowHow fertiliser plant, in Billingham, near Stockton, is expected to be open by the end of 2014.

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The plant will employ up to 250 workers during peak production.

KHI, based in Thornaby, near Stockton, said it will provide civil engineering design services for the brownfield industrial development.

The company, founded in the North-East in 1973, will work alongside SNF, who are part of the French-based SNF Group and the world's largest producer of water-soluble polymers used in the pulp and paper, water treatment and oil and gas sectors.

The group employs more than 3,400 workers on 20 sites across the world, and also makes products for use in effluent and sludge treatment.

Michael Ketley, KHI process industries business manager, said the plant would provide a huge boost for the Teesside chemical industry.

He said: “We have worked with SNF over a number of months and during this period we have formed a close collaborative relationship.

“This understanding will be key in the success of this phase of work and KHI is proud to be working on such a significant project in the Teesside area.”

KHI already works with chemical firms such as Yara International, Huntsman Tioxide and AGC Chemical Europe, and has provided design engineering and project management services for oil and gas companies across the world, including oil recovery and water and gas injection upgrades.

Simon Tearle, SNF UK group managing director, said it was excited to be working with KHI on the development.

He said: “This represents a significant expansion to SNF’s production capability in Europe.

“The site will be one of the largest SNF emulsion production facilities and we are excited to be bringing employment and growth to the Teesside area.

“We have been working with KHI in developing the concept for this plant and are pleased to be continuing our relationship with them.”