Ineos has announced plans to build a world-scale propane dehydrogenation (PDH) unit in Europe to produce 750,000 metric ton per year of propylene for its units across the continent.
The multinational chemicals manufacturer said it is studying a number of possible locations, including its site in Antwerp, Belgium.
Additionally, the Swiss-headquartered company intends to increase the ethylene capacity of its cracker facilities at Grangemouth in Scotland and Rafnes in Norway to over 1 million metric tons each.
Speaking to Plastics News Europe, an Ineos spokesman said the combined value of the projects were roughly at 2 billion euros ($2.2 billion).
“These are exciting times for Ineos as we plan to further increase the capacity of our crackers in Europe and at the same time to build an entirely new PDH plant,” said Gerd Franken, CEO Ineos Olefins & Polymers North.
The expansions and new builds are expected to increase Ineos' self-sufficiency in all key olefin products while supporting its derivative businesses and polymer plants in Europe.
“All our assets will benefit from our capability to import competitive raw materials from the U.S. and the rest of the world,” Franken added.
Ineos currently produces nearly 4.5 million tonnes of ethylene and propylene across Europe, but remains the largest buyer of ethylene and propylene in the region.
With the three projects, however, Ineos expects to “significantly increase” the quantities of its propylene and ethylene production in Europe.
“These projects represent the first substantial investments in the European chemicals industry for many years,” Ineos Chairman and CEO Jim Ratcliffe said.
According to Ratcliffe, the European expansion has been made possible as a result of the company's $2 billion investment in its dragon ships last year, which import 800 kilotonnes per year of ethane and liquified petroleum gas from the U.S. thanks to its booming shale gas industry.
Ineos has launched a fleet of eight of the ships, which can transport a combined 800,000 metric tons of ethane gas at -90° C in specially-designed tanks. The first shipment from U.S. shale gas fields to Ineos' European operations arrived in the spring of 2016.