The project was presented last January, but some 30 environmental organisations have launched on official objection procedure. They see three main problems: 55 hectares of woodlands would have to disappear, the new units would release "a lot of CO2" (about 1.5 million tons each year, they claim), and the company will be using shale gas, collected by controversial fracking techniques.
Thomas Goorden of Straten-Generaal, a movement representing citizens' interests, says that "in this project, various problems are coming together. The climate is our biggest concern, but we also see other mistakes. How they handle nature, how they handle procedures. This is full of problems. A perfect storm."
It is expected that the objections won't have a lot of effect though. "Call it a strong signal", Goorden says.
The project involves an investment of 2.7 billion euros and would boost the local economy. There are talks of 3,000 extra jobs. The Port of Antwerp says that the two units will produce two basic products (ethylene and propylene) that can boost the chemicals sector, and that this may attract other players in the future.