The Belgian chemical arm of INEOS has raised £3.1bn (€3.5bn) to build the most environmentally sustainable ‘cracker’ power plant in Europe.
INEOS Olefins Belgium is overseeing Project ONE – a new ethane cracker, which is the largest investment in the European chemical sector for a generation.
The cracker will be located in Antwerp, Belgium and have the lowest carbon footprint in Europe, three times lower than the average European steam cracker, and less than half that of the 10 per cent best performers in Europe.
The €3.5bn fundraise is the largest investment in the European chemical sector for a generation.
Cracking is the industrial process through which molecules are split under the influence of heat, catalysts and solvent – with the new cracker powered by low carbon hydrogen to produce ethylene from ethane.
Ethylene is a vital raw material for a wide range of products essential for insulation, lightweight vehicles, plastics for medical, healthcare and food hygiene, alongside technology for renewable energy.
The plant has the capability of operating entirely with low carbon hydrogen as well as room for a carbon capture facility and future electric furnaces.
The funding consists of €1.5bn of uncovered debt, €1.2bn of covered facilities from export credit agencies UKEF, Cesce and SACE; and an €800m covered tranche of which up to €500m is guaranteed by Gigarant.
Jason Meers, chief financial officer of INEOS Project ONE said: “This is an incredibly important moment for INEOS. Our ethane cracker will set new environmental standards for Europe as well as help revitalize the whole of the European chemical industry.
“Project ONE is a game changer for Europe. It will bring new opportunities to the chemical cluster in Antwerp as well as strengthen the resilience of the whole of the European chemical sector”.
Ineos is reportedly looking to boost its activity in the UK, and is in talks with Rolls-Royce to build a mini nuclear reactor and power a Scottish chemical refinery.