The construction of Akzo Nobel’s new chlorine and monochloroacetic acid (MCA) plants has started in Delfzijl, the Netherlands.
René Scheffers, general manager of Base Chemicals, and Jon Meijnen, general manager of the company’s Functional Chemicals business, officially broke the ground for the new plants last Friday.

The new construction is the result of the agreement concluded between Akzo Nobel and the Dutch government to terminate chlorine transports in the Netherlands. This agreement resulted in the relocation of the two production plants from Hengelo to Delfzijl. Production capacity of the chlorine plant in Rotterdam Botlek will also be expanded. "

After many years of discussions with the authorities and the long delay in the consent by the European Commission in Brussels, it is gratifying that the construction can now actually begin,” said Scheffers. Added Meijnen: "We are also pleased that the uncertainties around the relocation, so much desired by neighbors and the community, have now come to an end. Without the support of the authorities this would have been a mission impossible. This state-of-the-art plant will help us strengthen our global leading position in the MCA market.”

Akzo Nobel Base Chemicals is constructing a chlorine plant in Delfzijl based on the most modern membrane cell technology currently available. The new technology is expected to bring energy savings of five percent compared with the technology applied in the existing plants.

The major relocation project needed the consent of the European Commission and because the decision in Brussels took longer than anticipated, the construction of the new plants in Delfzijl started six months later than had been agreed with the government. Akzo Nobel is, however, doing its utmost to reduce the effects of this delay.

It is anticipated that the two plants in Delfzijl will come on stream by mid-2006 and, as the expansion in Rotterdam Botlek will also be completed in early 2006, regular chorine transports will also cease at that time.