The INEOS Group is the largest consumer of ethylene in Europe. INEOS Oxide has confirmed plans to build and operate a new 1 mln ton, deep-sea Ethylene Terminal, to be constructed at its Zwijndrecht Facility, Belgium. The operation of the new deep-sea terminal, which is expected to start in 2012, will significantly change the shape of the ethylene market in Europe. Once completed, the new INEOS Terminal will be connected directly to INEOS' ethylene consuming facilities in the Antwerp Rotterdam Area and into Europe via the ARG ethylene pipeline (formerly Aethylen-Rohrleitungs-Gesellschaft pipeline) linking Antwerp to Cologne and the Ruhr industrial areas. The new terminal secures the competitiveness of the site and highlights the importance of the production facilities in Antwerp- the heart of the largest Petrochemical area of Europe. By connecting INEOS Olefins & Polymers Europe and the INEOS Oligomers LAO/PAO facility in Belgium to the new terminal, INEOS will be able to efficiently balance its ethylene requirements over its facilities in Europe.
This could have a long term impact on chemical production in Europe, as per ICIS. It could result in possible availability of ethylene from the Middle East to the feedstock disadvantage naphtha-based European chemical producers. European petrochem makers use naphtha as feedstock and are disadvantaged as compared to Middle East and US ethane consumers. The interesting possibilities could include INEOS’ choosing to import cheap ethylene from the Middle East and close some European capacity. It has been mulling the future of its smaller, G4 cracker at Grangemouth, Scotland, for some time. Imports of ethylene however, will not help with the impending structural shortage of propylene, caused by greater cracking of ethane and lower refining rates.