INEOS receives the 2020 Exceptional Investment Trophy for its game-changing project in Antwerp

Headquartered in London, INEOS has rapidly become one of the largest chemical companies since its beginnings in 1998. “Our site in Antwerp is the cradle of INEOS’ international story,” explains Hans Casier, CEO of INEOS Phenol and INEOS Nitriles. “It’s where it all began.” It should therefore come as no surprise that this global company chose to launch its biggest investment project ever – called Project ONE – in Antwerp, Flanders. “Here, we are channeling over EUR 3 billion into the construction of a new ethane gas cracker and a propane dehydrogenation unit,” confirms John McNally, CEO of INEOS Project ONE.

Highlighting this major expansion, INEOS received the 2020 Exceptional Investment Trophy, presented for the first time ever by Flanders Investment & Trade (FIT). Flanders’ Minister-President Jan Jambon handed the trophy to John McNally, CEO of INEOS Project One, during the Foreign Investment Trophy event on 11 February 2020.

Building blocks for sustainable chemistry

Key factors influencing INEOS’ decision to invest in Antwerp (Flanders) were its strategic location and the fact that Antwerp is home to one of the world’s largest chemical clusters, second only to Houston (US). “Antwerp is our home,” asserts John McNally, “With its pan-European pipeline connection, its deep-sea access and our existing manufacturing sites in the region, Antwerp is the ideal location for Project ONE. By making it the base for this project, we are also keen to strengthen Antwerp’s strong position as a world-class petrochemical cluster.”

As part of the expansion project, INEOS is currently building two major installations – an ethane cracker and a propane dehydrogenation (PDH) unit – which will be used to produce ethylene and propylene. These are two essential building blocks for the fabrication of chemicals and polymers that can be used in a wide variety of crucial applications. Think of wind turbines, solar panels, healthcare products (such as medication blood bags, sterile packaging and MRI scanners), water purification, insulation and building materials, textiles, strong yet light vehicle parts – and many more.

“We’re keen to strengthen Antwerp’s position as a world-class petrochemical cluster by making it the base for our Project ONE.” – John McNally, CEO of INEOS Project ONE

Largest investment in a generation

“Project ONE is a gamechanger for chemistry in Europe,” John McNally adds. “Once completed, it will reinforce the sector’s competitive position after years of decline. The project not only marks the largest investment ever made in the history of our company, it’s also the largest investment in Europe’s chemical industry in 20 years.”

“Project ONE is a gamechanger for chemistry in Europe, reinforcing the sector’s competitive position after years of decline.” - John McNally, CEO of INEOS Project ONE

Meaningful impact

But Project ONE isn’t just about record-breaking investment amounts. The project will also see the construction of Europe’s most energy-efficient olefins complex – cutting CO2 emissions in half compared to similar plants elsewhere on the continent, setting a new industry standard for energy efficiency and carbon footprint reduction. Furthermore, co-produced hydrogen from both the ethylene and propylene units will be used as carbon free fuel, replacing natural gas.

In addition to boosting the industry’s competitiveness and sustainability efforts, Project ONE will also provide highly skilled roles in the region. It is set to employ up to 3,000 contractors during construction. “Once the site is operational,” John McNally adds, “we will be creating as many as 450 permanent jobs, while generating five times as many indirect jobs in the area.”