Chemical Company Announces Mega-Investment in Antwerp

Credit: Port of Antwerp
Credit: Port of Antwerp

By The Maritime Executive 01-17-2019 05:33:00

INEOS, one of the largest chemical concerns in the world, has chosen the Port of Antwerp as the location for a mega-investment of three billion euros ($3.4 billion). 

The capital outlay is the largest in the European chemical industry in the past two decades. 

Earlier this year INEOS announced that it planned a large-scale investment for further expansion of its chemical production facilities. Various European locations were considered, but ultimately the British chemical group opted for Antwerp.

INEOS plans to build a propane dehydrogenisation (PDH) plant and an ethane cracker unit in Antwerp. These will respectively convert propane into propylene and ethylene as the raw materials for chemical products used in many industries including car manufacturing, building construction, clothing, cosmetics and personal grooming products, pharmaceuticals, electronics and packaging materials.

The plants will be built on the existing INEOS site in Lillo in the port area, and INEOS will also take over unused parts of concessions held by neighboring companies. The new plants will be connected by pipeline to various INEOS ethylene and propylene derivative units elsewhere in Europe.

The new production plants are expected to be operational by 2024. Once the plants are up and running they will provide 400 full-time jobs directly and five times that number indirectly. Some 3,000 people will be employed during the construction phase.

The investment brings the total amount of new capital expenditure at the Port of Antwerp over the past year to more than five billion euros ($5.7 billion). 

Frank Beckx, managing director of essenscia Flanders (chemical industry association), says: “After Borealis similarly opted for Antwerp a few months ago, this decision by INEOS puts the chemical sector in Flanders even more firmly on the world map.”

The "Welcome Team for the Chemical Sector" was set up earlier this year by Flanders Investment & Trade (FIT) and essenscia Flanders. This initiative brings together a team of experts offering intensive support to foreign chemical companies, helping them with investment projects and highlighting the advantages for the chemical industry in Flanders in terms of innovation, tax policy and investment support, among others. With some 300 investment projects since 2010 the chemicals and life sciences sector represents around half of all foreign investment in Flanders.