Biggest investment in European chemistry in 20 years among the winners
Flanders Investment and Trade (FIT) has honoured the Project ONE investment by INEOS in the Port of Antwerp with the Exceptional Investment of the Year 2020 trophy. The prize was awarded this evening during the 8th edition of the Foreign Investment Trophy. This annual initiative by FIT – the Flemish agency for international entrepreneurship – spotlights companies that make an exceptional investment in Flanders and thus make an important contribution to the Flemish economy and employment.
Project ONE is the largest investment in European chemistry of the last 20 years, accounting for an investment amount of more than €3 billion and the creation of 450 permanent jobs (3000 during the implementation phase). The project includes the construction of 2 chemical plants in Lillo (Antwerp) for the production of ethylene and propylene, essential chemical building blocks for various applications such as wind turbines, solar panels, healthcare products (medicines, Baxter infusions, sterile packaging, MRI scanners, …), water purification, insulation and building materials, textiles and lightweight components for cars.
John McNally, CEO Project ONE, who accepted the award, said: “We are honoured with this recognition, in particular because it is linked to the region of Flanders with which we have built a special relationship since we started our very first INEOS activities in Antwerp about 20 years ago. This award is a great encouragement to the Project ONE team to bring the project to a successful conclusion. Being able to actively contribute to this initiative is a unique experience for them. Indeed, Project ONE will play a pioneering role in the renewal and strengthening of European chemistry by deploying the latest technologies. As a result, we will set a new standard for the sector, not least of all with regard to the carbon footprint.”
The planned installations are ground-breaking for the European chemical industry as they will emit up to 50% less CO2 than the current comparable installations in Europe. For example, because no CO2 is released when hydrogen is burned, the ethane installation will use the hydrogen released during the production of ethylene as fuel. In time, this innovation will have a market-correcting effect and the more polluting installations will disappear from the market.
Moreover, these installations will be ‘carbon capture ready’. After all, the design provides space for the construction of a carbon capture installation as soon as the technology is ready for it. INEOS is also a partner in the Antwerp@C project, which is studying the possibilities for carbon capture, transport, use and storage in the Port of Antwerp.
Strengthening the competitiveness of the European chemical industry
INEOS points out that this investment represents a revolution for the European chemical sector. The last investments of this magnitude were all made in China, the Middle East or the United States. China has evolved from a follower to a leader, but according to environmental standards that are quite different from those in Europe. So, developing this production site in Antwerp, in accordance with the strict environmental standards that apply here, creates a bridge to a future-oriented chemical sector in Antwerp and Flanders. Project ONE will create 450 jobs in the port, and 3,000 people will be employed during the construction.