Ineos plans European ethylene, propylene growth projects

Ineos AG, Rolle, Switzerland, is planning a series of proposed grassroots and brownfield projects to expand its ethylene and propylene production capacities in Europe to support continued growth of the company’s European petrochemical business.

A combination of expansions to existing units and newbuilds, the projects come as part of Ineos’s goal to increase its self-sufficiency in all key olefin products as well as lend further support to its derivative businesses and polymer plants in Europe, said Gerd Franken, chief executive officer of Ineos Olefins & Polymers Europe (North).

A first project will involve construction of a propane dehydrogenation (PDH) plant designed to produce 750,000 tonnes/year of propylene for Ineos units across Europe.

While Ineos is considering a number of possible locations for the PDH plant—including some of its own in Antwerp—the company has yet to make a final site selection for the project.

Alongside the PDH plant, Ineos also said it will expand ethylene production capacities of its existing crackers at Grangemouth, Scotland, and Rafnes, Norway, to more than 1 million tpy each, which will add up to 900,000 tpy to the company’s total ethylene production (OGJ Online, Mar. 30, 2016).

Marking Ineos’s first major investment into the European chemicals industry in many years, the three growth projects come as a direct result of the operator’s previous $2-billion investment in the Dragon Ships program, which has allowed the operator to import huge quantities of price-advantaged US shale ethane and LPG supplies to Europe for use as feedstock, said Jim Ratcliffe, Ineos’s founder and chairman.

The three projects to expand ethylene and propylene capacities collectively are the equivalent of building a European cracker, Ratcliffe added.

Despite its current 4.5 million-tpy combined production of ethylene and propylene across Europe, Ineos remains the region’s largest buyer of ethylene and propylene feedstock, the company said.

Ineos disclosed neither definitive timelines nor further details regarding the trio of projects.

Contact Robert Brelsford at rbrelsford@ogjonline.com.

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