Plant Expansions: Ineos selects Antwerp for ethane gas/PDH unit; BP/Lotte jv to expand acetic acid capacity in South Korea

Ineos selects Antwerp for ethane gas

Europe’s largest petrochemical firm Ineos has selected Antwerp, Belgium, as the location for its multi-billion Euro project for an ethane gas cracker and world-scale PDH unit in Europe. The EUR3 billion investment is the largest investment in the European chemicals sector in 20 years and could be a game changer for the Belgium economy.

The new petrochemical complex will be co-located with Ineos’s existing sites in Europe making polymers and will be connected by pipeline to a number of Ineos ethylene and propylene derivative units in the region.

The company already has a major presence in Belgium, employing 2,500 people across nine manufacturing sites, with six of these located in Antwerp and three research centres.

John McNally, CEO of the project said: “The selection of Antwerp as a location for these new assets is a significant step-forward for the development of this project. This decision builds upon our long-standing relationship with the Port of Antwerp, the City of Antwerp, and the governments of Flanders and Belgium.”

BP/Lotte jv to expand acetic acid

Meanwhile, in other news, oil giant BP and South Korea’s chemical firm Lotte are to expand production capacity at their joint venture Lotte BP Chemical in Ulsan, South Korea. The expansion is expected to add 100,000 tonnes/year (tpa) of acetic acid capacity by May 2019 through debottlenecking, and to double the current 200,000 tpa vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) capacity with the addition of a second VAM plant by the end of 2020.

The new expansion will bring total production capacity of the site to over 1 million tpa.

Nigel Dunn, BP petrochemicals vice president for acetyls, said: “This project demonstrates our ability to execute low capital cost debottlenecks to meet customer needs. Building on the long-standing success of our partnership with Lotte, this expansion will allow us to continue to meet Korea’s growing demand for these key petrochemicals.”

Soo-Young Huh, vice chairman of Lotte, said: “We are pleased with the successful launch of this project, based on the track record of manufacturing excellence of Lotte BP and expect it to strengthen the partnership between BP and Lotte.”

The expected investment of US$175 million will be funded by the joint venture.

Lotte BP Chemical is a joint venture between BP (50.94%) and Lotte (49.06%). Following the expansion, acetic acid capacity will grow from 550,000 tpa to 650,000 tpa, and VAM capacity will grow from 200,000 tpa to 400,000 tpa.


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