INEOS has selected Antwerp in Belgium as the site for its €3bn (US$3.4bn) investment in the first cracker built in Europe for 20 years.
The chemicals major announced in July last year that it was looking for a site in Europe to build a new ethane cracker and propane dehydrogenation (PDH) unit. The value of the project has since climbed from €2.7bn to €3bn, which the company says is the largest investment made by any firm in the chemicals sector in Europe for 20 years.
Sir Jim Ratcliffe, CEO of INEOS, said: “Our investment...is the largest of its kind in Europe for more than a generation and is an important development for the European petrochemical industry. We believe this investment will reverse years of decline in the European chemicals sector.”
Asked whether Brexit had influenced the decision not to make the investment in the UK, a company spokesman told The Chemical Engineer: “Not at all…clearly it’s a focus for many people at the moment but did not impact on this decision.”
He said the company considered a number of locations, but all in continental Europe because “we can tie into pipelines and networks to supply some of our other facilities and to meet the needs in countries through mainland Europe.”
INEOS already operates nine manufacturing sites and a technology centre in Belgium, with six of them in Antwerp. The new complex will be connected by pipeline to INEOS’ ethylene and propylene derivative units in the region.
Rob Ingram, CEO of INEOS Olefins & Polymers Europe North said: “The addition of these world-scale assets, using cutting-edge technologies that are also highly energy efficient, will give us a competitive and sustainable cost base. We believe this will significantly strengthen the whole of the ethylene and propylene derivative chains within INEOS”.
The company expects the project will be completed in 2024. It has not announced the expected production capacities.
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