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.

Ineos lost its environmental permit for the plant, on which construction had already started, in July last year, because of concerns about nitrogen emissions. The plant would convert ethane into ethylene, one of the raw materials used to make plastics.

However, a new positive opinion could allow Flemish Environment minister Zuhal Demir to quickly issue a new permit, meaning construction could resume as early as Monday, De Tijd writes.

The Flemish Regional Environmental Licensing Commission issued a conditional positive opinion on the ethane cracker on Wednesday, Demir's office confirmed. It is not yet known what conditions are attached to the opinion.

High political profile

The project has a high political profile. The 4 billion euro plan, dubbed Project One, would be the largest chemical investment in Europe in the last 25 years, Ineos said at the groundbreaking ceremony in December 2022. It is expected to create 450 jobs.

The licence for the project was annulled after it was challenged by the Dutch province of North Brabant and 14 organisations. The Flemish government had not sufficiently demonstrated that the project's nitrogen emissions would not harm a nature reserve just over the Dutch border, the Flemish Council for Permit Disputes ruled.

The cancellation of the permit caused uproar in the Flemish government, as it inflamed long-standing divisions over how the region should tackle nitrogen emissions



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