Huelva - The Association of Chemical, Basic and Energy Companies of Huelva (AIQBE) has strengthened its position as an engine of high-quality employment in the province during 2020 and, despite the difficulties imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic, the companies have added 2,565 direct jobs, which, together with the rest of the direct employment in the supply companies, represent more than a third of Huelva's industrial employment. According to the annual report, presented by Carlos Ortiz, president of the association, which highlights the strength of the sector in Huelva's economy.

Carlos Ortiz said that in 2020, "undoubtedly the most significant year in the history of AIQBE", AIQBE companies "have contributed to a large part of the gross domestic product (GDP) of our province, strengthening its position as a source of employment and prosperity". In this sense, he emphasized that, in the most difficult of times, "the industry has amply demonstrated its resilient nature, has been able to bind the population to the territory and has contributed to the well-being of all who live in this unique area."

According to the report, the turnover of AIQBE member companies was 6,896 million euros, a lower figure than in 2019, anticipating the low demand for fuels in 2020, due to the long periods of lockdown, during which the use of transportation has been significantly restricted.

Oil refining, LNG regasification, fuel storage and transportation companies accounted for the largest production volume within AIQBE at 50.8%. This was followed by copper metallurgical operations, with 25.7% of production, and basic chemical plants, with 20.7% of industrial production, a significant figure due to the increase in demand for medical applications, while power plants accounted for 2.8% of total production.

All this translated into 7,343 million euros in production value, and 7,013 million euros in operating costs, the most important being the cost of auxiliary raw materials (74.6%) and of electricity, fuel and process water (4.8%).

Almost a third of production (32%) is destined for export and another 32% for the regional market, while 36% has been commercialized in the rest of Spain, generating a gross value added (GVA) of 791 million euros, representing 8% of the provincial GVA.

In terms of logistics, AIQBE companies transported more than 43 million tons in 2020, with the association's relationship with the Port of Huelva particularly notable, as more than 20 million tons were transported through the Port of Huelva.

Employment and investment

With regard to the direct employment that will be generated by AIQBE companies in 2020, Carlos Ortiz highlighted that it represents 33.6% of industrial employment in the entire province of Huelva. In this sense, he appreciated the entry of new partners, Bio Oils, Gunvor and LIPSA, as well as the need to expand shifts and hire more external personnel to guarantee the hygiene and disinfection of all work areas, due to the pandemic. In fiscal year 2020, the number of jobs related to AIQBE's activity was 8,961 jobs.

For its part, AIQBE's investments in 2020 totaled 219 million euros. Although this figure is slightly lower than in previous years, it is among the five highest of the past decade, with a cumulative investment of 1,771 million euros in this period.