Earlier this year, INEOS announced that it would be investing EUR 2.7 billion to continue expanding its chemical plants. Various European locations were considered. After an elaborate selection procedure, the options were narrowed down to Rotterdam and Antwerp. Now, INEOS has decided to allocate the entire sum of EUR 3 billion to its factory at the Port of Antwerp. Key factors influencing the decision were its strategic location and the fact that Antwerp is home to one of the world’s largest chemical clusters, second only to Houston.
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INEOS (UK) plans ‘mega investment’ in Antwerp (Flanders)
By 2022, INEOS will build a brand-new propane dehydrogenation (PDH) plant and an ethane gas cracker. These will be deployed to turn propane and ethane into propylene and ethylene, respectively. Both are used as primary materials for chemical products central to numerous sectors, including automotive, construction, clothing, cosmetics, personal hygiene, pharmaceuticals, electronics and packaging.
The investment will be made at INEOS’ current site in Lillo, a hop away from the Port of Antwerp. Once it is operational, the new facility will directly create 400 direct full-time jobs and five times the number of indirect jobs. During construction, approximately 3,000 people will be working at the premises.
An initiative from Flanders Investment & Trade (FIT) and sector federation essenscia Vlaanderen, the recently launched Welcome Team for the Chemical Sector helped attract this major investment to Flanders. The Welcome Team brings together experts in several domains to highlight and explain Flanders’ assets in terms of innovation, fiscal matters and investment support.
INEOS’ investment is very good news for Flanders’ economy, and it also highlights the efficient cooperation between the different authorities that attract such large investments to our region. For example, the Welcome Team for the chemical sector provided expertise in finding the ideal location, choosing the right local partners, and so on. Relevant government cabinets also cooperated intensively. Meanwhile, our tailored service offering convinced the British chemical firm of Flanders’ potential in the face of intense competition from other countries and regions.
INEOS’ investment isn’t the first major project to launch in Antwerp in recent years. “Including the British company’s investment, the Port of Antwerp has already attracted an impressive EUR 5.4 billion in investment projects in 2018 alone,” explains Jacques Vandermeiren, CEO of the Antwerp Port Authority. Some of the most recent chemical investments include the addition of a new aniline production unit by Covestro (Germany), the construction of a EUR 1 billion propylene plant by Borealis (Austria), and a EUR 350 million investment by Nippon Shokubai (Japan).