As the world’s largest producer and marketer of phenol and acetone, Ineos Phenol has decided to continue its growth strategy by significantly expanding its Antwerp production facility. Originally established for an annual production of 200kt/a of phenol in 1993, the plant was expanded with a second line to 420 kt/a in 1997. Debottlenecking has increased that capacity to 450 kt/a.
Using its own proprietary technology, Ineos Phenol will increase the plant capacity to 640 kt/a, with start-up set for October 2006. Preengineering has already been started, supported by an alliance agreement with Aker Kvaerner. Contractor selection is expected to proceed in Q4 2004.
The expansion of its Antwerp facility follows Ineos Phenol’s decision not to pursue any further its earlier tentative plans for the erection of a green-field phenol/acetone plant in Map Ta Phut, Thailand. According to Ineos Phenol CEO Peter Bickert: “A detailed analysis of the Thai project gave inadequate investment returns to the company. However, we remain fully committed to the Asian market via imports from both Europe and the U.S. and continue to investigate direct investment opportunities with a new focus on China.”
In line with this, Ineos Phenol has recently opened a new tank facility with Odfjell in Rotterdam, which is supplied using highly efficient block-trains out of Gladbeck. Simultaneously, the company is establishing a cumene raw material pipeline connection from the canal port in Marl, Germany to its Gladbeck site, which is planned to be operational in April 2005. With these additions to its logistics infrastructure, Gladbeck will essentially be transformed from a land-locked site into one that is connected to the international waterways.