With an investment of 1 billion euros by Borealis, the Belgian chemical sector is once again setting its footsteps alongside those of the US, the Middle East and Asia. “Antwerp is the locomotive of Europe.”
© Borealis Kallo
After three years of preparatory work, the chemical company Borealis has decided to build a new propylene plant in the port of Antwerp. This will eventually create 100 extra jobs, while up to 2,000 people will work on the site at peak times during the construction phase. This is one of the largest investments in the European chemical sector in recent years.
The installation will have a capacity of 750,000 tons of propylene per year, 10 percent of the production in Europe.
Start of something more
In recent years, the Belgian chemical sector, good for 60,000 jobs, has attracted approximately 2 billion euros in investments, mainly for expansions and debottlenecking of existing installations. ‘What Borealis does is of a completely different order. This puts Antwerp on the world map." said Beckx.
Borealis' PDH plant will have a capacity of 750,000 tons of propylene per year, bringing total production at Kallo to over one million tons. “That comes down to just under 10 percent of production in Europe, all at one site. That is a lot," says Van De Velde. If everything goes smoothly, the plant will start operating in the first half of 2022.
© Wim Kempenaers
Even more decisively, our country is home to the second largest chemical cluster (after Houston) in the world. All the major chemical companies have a location in the Antwerp region and are connected to each other by a network of hundreds of kilometers of pipelines, with the output of one factory forming the input of another.
‘That is an enormous logistical advantage,’ says Van De Velde. “We supply propane via seagoing vessels from all corners of the world. This is unloaded into tanks on the other side of the quay and brought to our installation by pipeline. Our propylene in turn reaches our customers via pipelines and as far as our site in Beringen 80 kilometers away. There is no truck involved.”
Source: De Tijd, Borealis, GVA