The Petrochemical Situation in Antwerp

The Port of Antwerp is one of the biggest petrochemical hubs in the world – a major plastics centre in Europe.

  • Port of Antwerp: A Large Chemical Cluster in EuropeThe port leads not only in size, but also in innovation matched with all necessary investments, both private and public. The three largest oil refineries in the port of Antwerp – Gunvor, Total and ExxonMobil – together are investing billions of euros in their Antwerp sites. 


  • Billion Dollar petrochemical investment in Antwerp – In order to encourage investment, the Port Authority has set up a special unit to support the oil and chemical cluster. Acting as a one-stop shop, the Port Authority assists investors and shippers in setting up their business in Antwerp.




  • INEOS is a global manufacturer of petrochemicals, specialising in chemicals and oil products. Consisting of 36 individual businesses, INEOS operates 194 facilities in 29 countries throughout the world, making it one of the largest producers in the world.


  • INEOS plans to build a new cracking plant, which would officially make Antwerp the second-biggest hub in the world. Belgian officials have welcomed the plan.


  • It is called Project One because INEOS has never built a project like this before this, a first of its kind – building the cracker unit for local production and manufacturing rather than shipping it in. 


Opposition to the project


  • Environmental permits have created a situation of resistance and frustration amongst citizens and locals of Antwerp, formalizing peaceful protests and collective action meetings against the project. 


  • A key point in the opposition of Ineos’s Project One investment in Antwerp, Belgium, for example, is the fact that it plans to use imported fracked gas from the US as its feedstock. Opposition to fracked gas, typically transported to Europe as Liquid Natural Gas (LNG), is growing in Europe and could threaten the supply of fracked feedstocks to petrochemical facilities in the future.