5 September 2017

Port of Antwerp: a world-class integrated petrochemical cluster

The port of Antwerp illustrates perfectly one of the major assets of the chemical industry in Europe: its integrated sites (“Verbund”). 

The Port hosts indeed the largest integrated petrochemical cluster in Europe. The concept describes how several chemical plants throughout the value chain (from refineries and crackers to downstream plants) operate on the same site to foster cooperation and reduce transport costs. It enables the industry to optimize side streams, i.e. the by-products of one production process are used for the production of other substances on the same site or in neighboring plants. The Port of Antwerp has achieved a high level of integration and diversity throughout the value chain, which is unique in the world.

The top ten of the biggest chemical producers in the world are present in Antwerp, either with their supply chain or with a production unit. The integrated site includes four refineries (Total, ExxonMobil, Gunvor Petroleum Antwerp, ATPC (Bitumen)) and three steam crackers, which guarantee the availability of raw materials. Ineos Oxide recently built the biggest ethylene terminal in Europe at the Port of Antwerp. The site is also, therefore, a hub for chemical feedstocks. The chemical companies cooperate closely at a production level, but also in the field of energy and services such as waste treatment, which results in extremely energy and cost-efficient production. 

Integrated sites help the petrochemical industry in Europe overcome its competitive disadvantage due to higher energy and regulatory costs.

For further information, please consult the website of the Port of Antwerp.