For the third consecutive year, Petrochemicals Europe and EU40 – the multicultural, cross-party network of Young Members of the European Parliament – organised a combined tour to Antwerp for regulators to visit a petrochemical site and the harbour. This time Petrochemicals Europe Board member company Borealis opened their doors to host more than 30 officials from the three EU Institutions — Commission, Parliament and Council, two regional representations, the European Chemical Agency ECHA, and the United Nations.

During the site tour by bus the group were able to form their own impressions on how value chains in the European (petro-)chemical industry interact, how integration works to ensure a maximum of resource efficiency, how emissions are monitored in the control room and how a propane dehydrogenation (PDH) plant works in practice. Site Leader, Johan Van Grootel, and his team also explained the various energy-intensive processes from heat recovery to purification and cooling in an easy-to-understand way.

The subsequent interactive session with Borealis´ Commercial Vice-President Hydrocarbons Thomas Van De Velde and Petrochemicals Europe´s Executive Director Dorothee Arns showed that the participants were extremely interested in greenhouse gas emission controlling, circular economy initiatives, plastic waste management and recycling strategies applied by the European petrochemical industry and its downstream users.

The afternoon session, guided by a senior representative from the Antwerp Port Authority, was dedicated to discovering the interconnections between the various (petro-)chemical sites and the harbour activities, before it concluded with a quick visit to the new, award-winning Port Authority building by star architect Zaha Hadid — a building that has now become Antwerp´s new landmark.

As in previous years the feedback from the participants was extremely positive and in fact many of them had been strongly encouraged to take part by their colleagues who had been on the tour before.