UK-based chemicals company Ineos has announced plans to construct a world-scale propane Dehydrogenation (PDH) unit in Europe.

The new plant is expected to produce about 750,000 tonnes of propylene per annum for Ineos’ units across the continent.

To finalise the site for the new facility, the company is looking at several locations, including a number of its sites at Antwerp in Belgium.

Besides, Ineos intends to increase its ethylene capacity for its cracker facilities at Grangemouth in Scotland and Rafnes in Norway to more than 1 million tonnes each.

Ineos Olefins & Polymers North CEO Gerd Franken said: “These are exciting times for INEOS as we plan to further increase the capacity of our crackers in Europe and at the same time to build an entirely new PDH plant. 

“These expansions and new builds will increase our self-sufficiency in all key olefin products and give further support to our derivative businesses and polymer plants in Europe.  All our assets will benefit from our capability to import competitive raw materials from the US and the rest of the world.”

Presently, Ineos produces about 4.5 million tonnes of ethylene and propylene in Europe, but also remains as the largest buyer of ethylene and propylene in the continent.

The combination of the three major projects are expected to result in significantly increasing the quantities of propylene and ethylene produced by the company in Europe. At the same time, the projects will support the combined growth of its ethylene and propylene derivative businesses.

Ineos CEO Jim Ratcliffe said: “These projects represent the first substantial investments in the European chemicals industry for many years. It has only been made possible because of INEOS massive $2bn investment in our Dragon Ships programme which allows us to import ethane and LPG from the US in huge quantities.”

Recently, the company agreed to buy the entire oil & gas business from Danish energy major, Dong Energy for $1.05bn, including a contingent payment of $250m.