UK-based INEOS, a leading chemical company with annual sales of around USD 60 billion, has approved a project to build both a world-scale ethane cracker and a PDH (propane dehydrogenation) unit in Northern Europe. The EUR 2.7 billion (USD 3.15 billion) project is the biggest capital investment ever made by INEOS. Both units will benefit from U.S. shale gas economics.
INEOS already ships ethane from the U.S. to its crackers at Grangemouth in Scotland and at Rafnes in Norway.
This will be the first new cracker to be built in Europe for two decades. It will also be one of the most efficient and environmentally friendly plants of its type in the world, according to INEOS.
The location of the site will be determined soon and it is likely to be on the coast of North West Europe. A project team has been assigned to consider options. The project, which will be funded from INEOS’ own cash flow, is expected to be completed within four years.
“This new project will increase INEOS self-sufficiency in all key olefin products and give further support to our derivatives business and polymer plants in Europe. All our assets will benefit from our ability to import competitive raw materials from the U.S.A. and the rest of the world,” says Gerd Franken, chairman of INEOS Olefins and Polymers North.
This new investment follows a decision taken by INEOS last year to increase the capacity of its existing crackers.
“INEOS is going from strength to strength. This new investment builds on the huge investment we made in bringing U.S. shale gas to Europe and will ensure the long-term future of our European chemical plants,” says Jim Ratcliffe, INEOS chairman.
“This is the largest investment to be made in the European chemical sector for a generation. It will be a game changer for the industry and shows our commitment to manufacturing,” he adds.