Prax pledges on jobs and decarbonisation

Luc Smets has been appointed general manager of the Prax Lindsey Oil Refinery at North Killingholme, bringing with him more than three decades of experience in the petrochemical industry, with 23 of those years spent with ExxonMobil.

Luc Smets, general manager, Prax Lindsey Oil Refinery

As part of corporate strategy for the refinery, the Prax Group has committed to boosting the workforce while also focusing on the reduction of emissions under a net zero initiative.
In a recent interview, Luc said: “The first commitment the Group made to the team at the refinery, is that the existing organisation will not be affected. We need the existing team and nobody is at risk.
“But, looking at all the projects we have on the table, the question is what resources we need now and in the future, and can we do it with the existing organisation? The answer is no … and we are now looking at where and how to expand the organisation. Should it be insourced or outsourced?
“At this moment, the only certain answer I can give, is that job numbers will rise, and sooner rather than later.”
Commenting on the net zero agenda, Luc said: “Our intention is to play a major part in most of these projects in order to take our Corporate Social Responsibility seriously and be sustainable for the future.
“Although we have only been in place at Prax Lindsey Oil Refinery for a couple of months, we are already making contacts with relevant organisations in the surrounding area, such as ABP, VPI, Phillips 66 and the Petroleum Industry Association.
“We are aware of the Humber Zero initiatives, and I want to understand what this entails and what role we can play in these projects.
“We fully support the move towards zero emissions, and while this will be challenging as we move ahead, it is part of our corporate and local strategy and underpins everything we do.”
Luc added that Prax was investigating what measures the company could take to become a benchmark for the region, while contributing positively to the work of the authorities in this respect.
On another key aspect of the future strategy of the Prax Group, Luc underlined the commitment to developing operations in the area of hydrogen: “Hydrogen will play a major role in the future, and we are currently looking at how we can bring value to the ongoing initiatives,” he said.
Looking ahead, Luc is keen to bring his experience of both corporate and independent plant operations to the table in his new role at the Prax Lindsey Oil Refinery, melding the best of the two cultures as the refinery makes the transition to Prax.
“One of the reasons I joined Prax is the challenge involved in a takeover such as this, and I am excited to move forwards with a knowledgeable team, who are capable and motivated and ready to respond to the new working dynamic,” he said.
“We are a company in the fast lane, decision lines are short, management is lean and, another key advantage is the hands-on attitude of our CEO Sanjeev Kumar, who is always on hand to steer developments.”