Objections to Ineos PDH Plans Submitted

22.09.2019 -

A consortium of organizations in the Flemish region of Belgium recently submitted an objection to Ineos’ plans to build a propane dehydrogenation (PDH) plant and an ethane cracker in the port of Antwerp. To date, three objections to the project have been filed.

While Ineos has said the facilities producing ethylene and propylene would create 400 jobs, Antwerp Shale Gas Free, which works to end reliance on fracking-derived plastics, said in its complaint that construction would deforest an area of some 50 hectares, a fact not included in the chemical producer’s environmental impact assessment.

“Our biggest objection is that the deforestation has been completely divorced from the planned construction,” said the pressure group’s spokesperson, Pieter Lievens. “As a result,” he said, “the entire project’s impact on the climate has not been accurately estimated. This is illegal according to Belgian and European law.”

The first of the three objections filed against the €3 billion investment project was submitted by 20 international organizations led by Brussels-based lobby group Food & Water Europe. This group expressed concern about the future of Natura 2000, a Europe-wide network of core breeding and resting sites for rare and threatened species.

“Ineos’s deforestation plans are just the first step in a disastrous project,” said Mathieu Soete of Greenpeace Belgium, which is also among the petitioners. “With today’s climate emergency, Europe urgently needs to move toward full decarbonization by 2040. Pumping billions into a plastics factory that will emit millions of tons of CO2 over the coming decades really is the last thing the climate needs,” he said.

The other objection was submitted by Belgian conservation and nature organizations, including Bond Beter Leefmilieu, Natuurpunt and the national chapter of the WWF. While not currently objecting to the deforestation, the Antwerp chapter of Natuurpunt is asking that the deforestation permit not be granted until an environmental permit is approved for the site.

Bond Beter Leefmilieu – which translates into English roughly as Better Living Conditions  – is additionally asking for guarantees that new installations conform to requirements of a carbon-neutral and a circular economy in Belgium.

In other Ineos news, majority owner Jim Ratcliffe has revealed that his planned new sport utility vehicle (project name Grenadier) will be built in the UK, at Bridgend in South Wales, from 2021. The billionaire recently moved his personal residence to tax haven Monaco.