British chemical group INEOS is about to invest 2.7 billion euros into two factories in Antwerp’s Port, which would be the most important deal of its kind in the European chemical industry in the past 20 years, De Tijd and L’Echo reported Saturday. The main obstacles met in the case now appear to have been lifted, although discussions are still ongoing with port authorities regarding the redevelopment of land in concession.
The investment’s spearhead on Escaut’s right bank is the building of a “cracker”: 1.7 billion for a plant that converts ethane into ethylene gas, one of the key basic elements in the chemical sector. It would be the first time in twenty years that a cracker would be built on the European continent.
The investment would create 500 new jobs. During the construction phase – which should take four to five years – the project could involve up to 3,000 people. This is the biggest investment into new factories in INEOS’s history. This mega-investment also enables Antwerp, home to the largest chemical cluster in the world, after Houston, in regaining a prominent place on the world map of chemistry as well as consolidating the sector’s anchorage.