The most environmentally friendly cracker in Europe is now under development, and INEOS Olefins Belgium has just revealed that it has raised €3.5 billion to finance it.
This investment represents the largest made in the European chemical industry in a generation. The plant will have the smallest carbon footprint in Europe, one that is less than half that of the top 10% of European performance and three times smaller than that of the typical steam cracker.
The complex also contains space for a carbon capture facility and potential electric furnaces, and it can run totally on low-carbon hydrogen.
“Project ONE is a game changer for Europe,” declares Jason Meers, CFO of INEOS Project ONE. It will increase the resilience of the entire European chemical industry and open up new opportunities for the Antwerp chemical cluster.
The contract, which is backed by 21 commercial banks, confirms the project’s sound business case and distinguishing environmental features. To support the project’s ongoing spending profile, the debt will be brought down gradually.
It consists of uncovered debt at €1.5 billion, covered facilities for €1.2 billion from export credit agencies UKEF, Cesce, and SACE, and a covered tranche worth €800 million, of which Gigarant will guarantee up to €500 million (a vehicle of the Flemish Government that provides loan guarantees).
“We are happy to attain this milestone and obtain this finance,” says Jason Meers, CFO of INEOS Project ONE. The fact that four governmental organizations and such a sizable number of environmentally conscious commercial banks are working on this project shows how important it is.
The cracker will create ethylene, a crucial raw ingredient for many goods that are necessary to our everyday life, including insulation, lightweight cars, plastics for medical, healthcare, and food hygiene, and technology for renewable energy.