Amsterdam, 6 July 2018 – British chemical giant Ineos announces an investment of 2.7 billion euro in a complex that’s to be built in north-west Europe. The choice is between Rotterdam and Antwerp. It concerns a factory for propane dehydrogenation (PDH) and a so-called ethane cracker. The PDH factory will convert propane into propylene. This is then turned into polypropylene, which is the raw material needed to make plastic for fields such as the automotive industry. The cracker, in turn, converts ethane into ethylene. This is processed into an intermediate product in the shape of pellets, which are used to make a variety of plastic.

The ethane originates from shale gas sources in the United States. According to the press release by Ineos the company profits from cheap shale gas from the United States. To transport the gas, Ineos uses huge multigas carriers: ships that can carry up to 800.000 ton of gas at a time. The first shipment arrived at Ineos’ cracker in Norway in 2016. Back in 2012 Ineos had already signed a treaty with American producers to be the first company in Europe to import ethane, according to a very critical report by Food and Water Europe.

An Ineos factory in Scotland is being held responsible for an enormous pellets pollution on beaches. This May the BBC reported that 450.000 pellets had been found in 2 hours on a beach only 12 miles from the factory. Ineos’ promise of “zero pellet loss” appears to be empty.

Maria Westerbos, director of the Plastic Soup Foundation: “While State Secretary Van Veldhoven announces a Plastic Pact to ban single-use plastic such as straws, cutlery and cotton buds at the front, the door at the back is put wide open for a gigantic investment in even more production of cheap plastic. If the government truly wants to limit plastic, they definitely can’t give Ineos a permit.”

Also read: The European commission and pellet loss