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The British chemical maker Ineos plans to build what it says will be the first European ethylene cracker in more than 20 years. Part of an aggressive plan by Ineos to invest in European manufacturing, the cracker will complement two European projects that the company announced a year ago: a propane dehydrogenation plant and the expansion of existing ethylene crackers in Scotland and Norway. The company says the new cracker and propane dehydrogenation plants will together cost more than $3 billion. The raw material for the new facilities will be shale-derived natural gas liquids imported from the U.S., some of it on vessels that Ineos had built for the purpose. The location of the plants, likely the coast of northwest Europe, will be determined soon, Ineos says, and the projects should be completed within four years. “This is the largest investment to be made in the European chemical sector for a generation,” Ineos founder and chairman Jim Ratcliffe says.
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