Ineos has announced its biggest ever investment of €2.7 billion (£2.4bn) in new European chemical plants.
The global petrochemicals company has committed to building a world-scale ethane cracker and a propane dehydrogenation (PDH) unit in Europe, in a move set to benefit the Scottish economy.
Although Scotland is not in the running as a potential location for the plants, the project will involve many workers from the firm’s Grangemouth site on the Firth of Forth and is predicted to bring a boost in staffing numbers.
Ineos director Tom Crotty described the Scottish site’s expertise as “essential” to the development.
Crotty said: “The new investment that we announced today involves two things. The first is an ethane cracker which is pretty much a copy of what we have at Grangemouth, processing ethane to produce ethylene.
“The other is building a PDH unit which does exactly the same thing with propane to make propylene. These two chemicals are the building blocks for the whole of the rest of the chemical industry.
“The expertise we have at Grangemouth is essential in running the project.”
The Grangemouth operation is the company’s largest manufacturing site by volume, and is home to Scotland’s only crude oil refinery.
The precise location of the new site is yet to be determined, with the company stating it is likely to be along the coast of north-western continental Europe.
Founder and chairman Jim Ratcliffe said: “This is the largest investment to be made in the European chemical sector for a generation.
“It will be a game changer for the industry and shows our commitment to manufacturing.
“This new investment builds on the huge investment we made in bringing US shale gas to Europe and will ensure the long-term future of our European chemical plants.”