INEOS begins engineering work on Marl cumene plant, FID expected this year

Author: Tom Brown


Marl Chemical Park

LONDON (ICIS)--INEOS has taken the next step in the development of a mooted “world-scale” cumene plant in Germany commencing preparatory engineering work and planning for a final investment decision (FID) before the end of the year, the Switzerland-headquartered firm said on Tuesday.

The company has commenced front-end engineering and design (FEED) work on the plant, to be located in Marl, Germany, nearly 10 months after first announcing it is considering a significant new investment in cumene capacity in Europe.

No investment or capacity estimates have been released, but the plant is likely to be completed in 2020 if it moves forward. The company said at the time of the initial announcement that a full study of investment options for the plant would be completed by the end of 2017.

“The Marl Chemiepark has been selected as the best location to build a state of the art, world-scale cumene unit with excellent logistics that will underpin our phenol and acetone sites in Europe,” said INEOS Phenol CEO Hans Casier.

Placing the unit in the Marl Chemiepark would allow access to existing pipeline connections to INEOS’ phenol and acetone operations in Gladbeck, Germany, Evonik’s operations in Marl, and to BP’s refinery and cracker complex in Gelsenkirchen, Germany.

If the project moves forward, it would further cement the northern Ruhr region in Germany as a hub for petrochemicals production, according to BP euopa board member Frederic Baudry.

“Today’s announcement is a potential next step to continue our commercial relationship between all involved parties in the important northern Ruhr area chemical cluster. It highlights the benefits of existing and new pipeline connections, enabling a truly cross site integration,” he said.

INEOS has an existing 280,000 tonne/year cumene plant in Marl, according to ICIS data, and 900,000 tonnes/year of capacity in Pasadena, US, according to ICIS data.

Cumene is produced from benzene and propylene. The company is also understood to be considering a propylene-producing propane dehydrogenation (PDH) unit in Europe with a potential capacity of over 700,000 tonnes/year.

Borealis and Grupa Azoty are also currently contemplating new flagship PDH units in Europe.

Cumene is used to make phenol and acetone, which in turn can become resins, coatings, plastics or construction materials.

Pictured: Aerial view of Marl's chemical park
Source: Hans Blossey/imageBROKER/Shutterstock