Ineos ethane cracker secures conditional environmental permit

UK chemical company Ineos' ethane cracker in the port of Antwerp has received a conditional new environmental permit from Flemish Environment minister Zuhal Demir.

Earlier this week, the project received a "partially conditionally favourable" opinion from the Environment department. The report said that "the nuisance and effects on people and the environment and the risks to external safety caused by the project applied for can be reduced to an acceptable level, provided the permit conditions are met".

An ethane cracker is a plant where ethylene is made by "cracking" the molecules of ethane gas at high temperature. An appeal against the project's permit was lodged from the Netherlands last summer. Subsequently, the Council for Permit Disputes annulled the licence because it could not demonstrate how the nitrogen deposition of the cracker would not harm the Brabantse Wal nature reserve. The Flemish government had a six-month period to make a new decision based on more detailed information on nitrogen deposition.

'Clarity for employees'

According to a press release on Sunday evening, a new conditional permit has been issued. The conditions include that Ineos must make the plant climate-neutral within 10 years of starting up and must also report biannually on the evolution of technical feasibility and its possible implementation.

As a discharge standard for the drainage water, a maximum of 0.1 μg/l per substance is imposed for PFOS, PFO and other PFAS.

The granting of an environmental permit for the project, known as Project One, clears the way for the construction and operation of Europe's most sustainable ethane cracker, the company said. "This decision finally brings clarity to all Ineos Olefins Belgium employees and subcontractors involved and gives hope to other companies in Flanders with similar projects," it said in a press release.

"INEOS will comply with the strictest environmental regulations"

"In developing this production site in Antwerp, Ineos will comply with the strictest environmental regulations. The site contributes to the renewal and sustainability of the chemical cluster in Flanders," the press release said. "The carbon emissions of the cracker are as much as three times lower than those of the average European cracker. Compared to the 10 per cent best-performing plants in Europe, Project One's cracker emits less than half, thanks to the application of best available techniques and maximum energy efficiency."

The investment of more than 4 billion euros is the most significant in European chemistry in more than 20 years. The group hopes the plant will be operational from the end of 2026. The investment will create 450 direct jobs and thousands of indirect jobs. At the peak of construction work, some 2,500 workers will be active at the site.

#FlandersNewsService | © ANP / HOLLANDSE HOOGTE / PETER HILZ

Related news

Website preview
New permit for Ineos ethane cracker in sight after positive opinion
A positive opinion has paved the way for British chemical company Ineos to be granted a new permit to build an ethane cracker in the port of Antwerp.
Website preview
ClientEarth files lawsuit against Flemish government over INEOS ethane cracker
The international environmental organisation ClientEarth and 13 other NGOs are taking the government of Flanders to court. ClientEarth wants to...

Get updates in your mailbox

By clicking "Subscribe" I confirm I have read and agree to the Privacy Policy.


Belga News Agency delivers dependable, rapid and high-quality information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from Belgium and abroad to all Belgian media. The information covers all sectors, from politics, economics and finance to social affairs, sports and culture, not to mention entertainment and lifestyle.

Every day, our journalists and press photographers produce hundreds of photos and news stories, dozens of online information items, plus audio and video bulletins, all in both national languages. Since the end of March 2022 English has been added as a language.

For public institutions, businesses and various organisations that need reliable information, Belga News Agency also offers a comprehensive range of corporate services to meet all their communication needs.


Arduinkaai 29 1000 Brussels