Ineos Studies Second ENB Plant
Ineos has launched a feasibility study on a new world-scale plant for ethylidene norbornene (ENB). The facility would be the company’s second ENB plant, adding to an existing unit in Antwerp, Belgium, which is currently being expanded.
The Antwerp expansion is due to be completed by late 2019, lifting capacity by 7,500 t/y to 35,500 t/y. The project follows a previous debottlenecking to 28,000 t/y, which was completed in the fourth quarter of 2013.
Several locations in the Middle East and Asia Pacific are being considered for the new ENB plant, as well as the option of adding a second line in Antwerp. Ineos is aiming for start-up by 2023. The company is also reviewing investment options to secure additional supply of ENB feedstock, dicyclopentadiene (DCPD).
ENB is used predominantly to manufacture ethylene-propylene-diene monomer (EPDM) rubber, a high-performance rubber that Ineos said is increasingly favored for use in the automotive, white goods and construction industries. It is also used as a scent carrier in the high-value fragrance industry thanks to its unique molecular structure.
“Ongoing ENB demand growth from both new and existing customers, in particular those producing EPDM rubber, will require new capacity to be commissioned early in the next decade. We plan to be able to support our key global customers in helping them grow their EPDM businesses, said” Rodney Stobbs, business director at Ineos Oxide. “The new investment into DCPD production capability would represent a logical strategic development of the Ineos Oxide business portfolio, in addition to supporting our global ambitions on ENB.”
According to market analysis group QY Research, global demand for EPDM is expected to grow by 5% per year between 2017 and 2023, rising from $2.5 billion in 2016 to reach nearly $3.5 billion by the end of 2023.