Ineos secures €3.5bn for energy petrochemical facility

UK’s richest man Jim Ratcliffe of Ineos secures €3.5bn in financing to move forward with its new energy-efficient petrochemical facility in Belgium. This marks a vote of confidence in the European sector, which has been impacted by the energy crisis. The facility, called “Project ONE” cracker in Antwerp, is being hailed as the biggest investment in European chemicals in a generation.

Despite some of Ineos’ rivals such as BASF downsizing in Europe due to rising energy costs, the company remains confident in its plans for the new facility. The facility is expected to be one of the most energy-efficient in the world, producing far less emissions than its competitors. Ineos believes that the European petrochemicals and manufacturing sectors can adapt to the energy crisis, despite warnings that capacity will increasingly shift to Asia and the US.

The Ineos secures €3.5bn financing from 21 commercial banks, export credit agencies of the UK, Spain and Italy, and a loan guarantee of up to €500 million from Gigarant, part of the Flemish government. The new cracker will convert low-cost ethane, a byproduct of natural gas production, into ethylene, which is a key feedstock used in making products ranging from food wrappers to insulation.

Ineos has established a fleet of 16 tankers over the past six years to transport ethane from the US to its plants in Europe, taking advantage of lower feedstock costs created by the US shale boom. The company says that it is “importing US energy economics into Europe” and making it extremely competitive. The plant has the potential to be powered by low-carbon hydrogen within 10 years, provided that plans to make the fuel a bigger part of Europe’s energy mix take off.

Ineos’ €3.5 billion financing for its energy-efficient petrochemical facility in Belgium is a significant milestone for the company and the European sector. Despite the challenges posed by the energy crisis, Ineos remains confident in the future of Europe and the renewal of European industry.