Antwerp Grants Ineos Cracker Environment Permit

05.01.2022 - Ineos Olefins Belgium has received an environment permit for its planned €3 billion shale gas-fed ethane cracker in the Port of Antwerp, which is now due on steam in 2026. The permit for the facility announced in 2019 and dubbed Project One, is the first step toward approval.

Ineos claims the cracker will be one of the most environmentally sustainable in Europe, with a carbon footprint less than half that of the top 10% of crackers in the region. The Swiss-based, UK-managed group asserted that the investment is also the largest in the European chemicals sector in more than 20 years.

The cracker in the port where Ineos already has six production facilities will have capacity to produce 1.25 million t/y of ethylene and a propane dehydrogenation (PDH) unit yielding 750,000 t/y of propylene. The facility will be linked by pipeline to the chemical producer’s other Belgian locations as well as to ethylene and propylene derivatives units in central and northern Europe.

When announcing the project, Ineos said the units would start up in 2024, but this has now been pushed back to 2026. It did not explain the delay; however a number of other projects have been slowed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Along with using “environment-friendly” technologies, Ineos management said earlier that the project would enjoy a “competitive and sustainable” cost base. To feed the cracker, the group said earlier that it planned to invest further in US shale. Ineos already imports shale-derived liquefied natural gas to feed operations in Scotland and Norway.

John McNally, CEO of Project One, said Ineos’ engagement underscores the urgency of tackling the climate problem. As an industrial player, he said, “we do not want to stand on the sidelines but want to make a fundamental difference as of today. By consistently opting for the best available techniques in our design, we are setting a new environmental standard within our industry.”

The new cracker, the executive said, “will raise the benchmark for low carbon emissions within the European Trading Scheme (ETS), against which other European crackers will be judged, while it will also substantially tighten the standard for other European steam crackers.”

Author: Dede Williams, Freelance Journalist