Ineos Says Europe VAM Plans Progressing
Ineos said last week it is making progress on its plans announced in September 2017 to build a 300,000 t/y plant for vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) at one of its integrated European production sites to reduce dependence on imports.
In its first communication about the facility in more than six months, the Swiss-headquartered petrochemicals group said it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with an unnamed commercial partner and has begun front-end engineering and design (FEED) studies for the project.
Ineos said it expects to make a final decision on the investment over the course of 2018, together with its designated partner, which some observers speculate could be an inporter or distributor. A start-up date of 2021 is tentatively being targeted.
Although the group has not revealed its preferred location for the VAM plant, it said the choice is now down to Antwerp, Belgium, or Hull, England. Both sides are back-integrated into ethylene, and Ineos Oxide CEO Graham Beesley said both are well positioned to supply European as well as deep-sea VAM markets. A site at Cologne, Germany, originally had been under consideration.
Due to the group’s protracted silence on the as yet unquantified investment, some European market watchers speculated that Ineos might have abandoned the VAM plans.