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9 major worldwide Petrochemical & Chemical projects that you need to know about

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With the ongoing boom in the US chemical industry, major companies worldwide are looking to increase capacity and meet demand by increasing investment in bigger, more ambitious projects across the globe. 

As a trusted provider of workforce solutions across the industry, Fircroft are always following the latest developments and tracking the biggest upcoming projects. We looked at the upcoming plans of the leading petrochemical & chemical companies in the world and found the most exciting projects that you need to be aware of. 

The major Petrochemical & Chemical projects you need to know about

UK & Europe

European chemical production is back on an upswing, reaching its highest production level in eight years. So upcoming prospects across the area are huge, with INEOS, Borealis and Dow leading the charge. 

INEOS are launching two major petrochemical projects across Europe

The London-based firm is looking to expand across Europe with two major projects. 

The first is plans for a new propylene plant working with propane dehydrogenation technology, expected to deliver 750,000 metric tonnes per year. Currently INEOS is considering locations for the site, primarily in Antwerp, Belgium. Construction is set for four years, with thousands of workers needed for the building process, followed by around 450 to operate it. 

INEOS’ second major project is a planned expansion of its current ethylene crackers in Grangemouth, Scotland and Rafnes, Norway. The expansion is set to up the output to 900,000 metric tonnes per year. The dual expansion project has been described Jim Ratcliffe (INEOS’ founder and Britain’s richest man) as “the equivalent of building a new world-scale cracker in Europe.”

Construction of the expansion therefore is also expected to require thousands of workers. 

Borealis are planning a propane dehydrogenation plant in Belgium

Also creating opportunities in Belgium is Europe’s second largest producer of polyethylene and polypropylene - Borealis AG - who are conducting a feasibility study for their own propane dehydrogenation plant in the Beveren town of Kallo.

Few details have been revealed so far, but the hope is that the potential site will output 740,000 tonnes of polypropylene a year, which would make it one of the largest and most efficient facilities in the world.  

Dow have a $4 billion global investment plan over 5 years


As part of a five-year, $4 billion global investment plan, Dow Chemical is planning to build a 450,000 metric-tonne European polyolefins plant to serve the high-pressure pipe market.

This will be the first new polyolefins plant in Western Europe since the late 2000s, and demonstrates the US firm’s commitment to European production. 

These massive investments represent just part of the increasing value of the European petrochemical and chemical market. Fircroft has been supporting the industry with technical workforce solutions since 1970, building success thanks to longstanding relationships with clients and contractors. As the industry grows, find out more about what services Fircroft can offer

The US petrochemical and chemical industry continues to boom with capital spending due to reach an incredible $48 billion by 2022 (up from $38 billion in 2017). 

With success ongoing, some of the world’s largest companies - including Dow, Shell, ExxonMobil, PTT Global Chemicals and Total - are planning significant investments over the next few years, creating a huge number of jobs across the states. 

Dow are creating 5,500 jobs in the US over the next 10 years

Dow Chemical
Dow’s announcement of its global investment plan increases the company’s US growth investments to $12 billion over a 10-year period, creating an incredible 5,500 jobs. Major projects announced include:

  • A 500,000 tonne per year expansion of the TX-9 ethylene cracker in Freeport, Texas through construction of two extra furnaces - bringing its capacity up to 2 million tonnes and establishing it as the world’s largest ethylene facility. 
  • Construction of a 600,000 metric tonne polyethylene unit on the Gulf Coast that will use Dow’s Solution Process technology. 
  • A series of investments across its polyurethanes franchise including infrastructure enhancements and systems growths.
  • Construction of a new catalyst production unit for key catalysts licensed by Univation (a Dow subsidiary)
  • Additional investments in shale gas economics

Shell are building a massive ethane cracker in Pennsylvania

The Shell Pennsylvania Chemicals Project is a massive ethane cracker that will take over a 780 acre site just 30 miles northwest of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 

Construction has already begun, but at peak times will employ up to 6,000 workers, with approximately 600 permanent jobs available once the plant is operational. 

Sabic and ExxonMobil are planning a $10 billion project in Texas, creating 11,000 jobs

The dual venture of Saudi-Arabian manufacturers SABIC and ExxonMobil is a proposed petrochemical complex in San Patricio County, Texas. They’re still seeking approval from local authorities, but once construction begins it’s thought that the $10 billion project will create 11,000 jobs over a five year construction, with 600 permanent full-time jobs once operations begin.

PTTGC invested $100 million on a complex in Ohio

PTT Global Chemicals

PTTGC have invested $100 million to construct a world-scale petrochemical complex (ethane cracker) in Belmont County, Ohio. This is prime-located to bring in gas from the Utica Shale Formation, The Marcellus Shale Formation and the Utica Underlying Marcellus. 

With so much natural resource available and ready-access to transport networks, the company are putting huge confidence in the project. They estimate that it will produce 1.5 million metric tonnes per year and employ thousands during construction. However, they have yet to make a final investment decision with their South Korean partners, Daelim. They’re hoping a decision will be made by the end of the year, so this is definitely a project worth keeping an eye on. 

Total, Borealis and Nova have a gulf coast ethane cracker project that will create 1500 jobs


In joint partnership with Borealis and Nova, Total are planning an ethane steam cracker on the Gulf Coast that will produce 1 million tonnes per year and is scheduled to begin operations in 2020. Construction should create around 1,500 jobs during peak activity.

In addition to this, the three companies have greenlit a 625,000 tonne per year polyethylene unit to be built on Total’s petrochemical production site in Bayport, Texas. This will double the existing site’s capacity to 1.1 million tonnes per year, is scheduled to start up in 2021 and is expected to employ 1750 workers during peak construction.

The USA’s petrochemical and chemical industry is clearly showing no signs of slowing down and with so much major investment there is an incredible number of opportunities for contractors from Ohio to Texas. Stay up to date with the latest jobs with the biggest projects across the US and the world with Fircroft.

Rest of the World

Carbon Holdings are building the world's biggest petrochemical complex in Egypt

Carbon Holdings
Outside the US/Europe, the biggest project we’re keeping our eye on is Carbon Holding’s Tahrir Petrochemical Complex in Egypt. 

This massive complex is set to include a four million tonne per year naphtha cracker plant - the biggest in the world - along with related downstream facilities with the capacity for 1.4 million tonnes per year of ethylene and polyethylene, 900,000tpa of propylene, 250,000tpa of butadiene, 350,000tpa of benzene and 100,000tpa of hexene-1. 

Commissioning of the plant is expected in 2019, with over 20,000 jobs expected to be created during the construction phase!


Fircroft has an incredible track record in providing workforce solutions with the petrochemical and chemical industry. We’ll keep you updated with the latest news from the industry, but ensure you don’t miss out on an opportunity to work on some of the world’s biggest projects by registering your CV with Fircroft today.

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