MOSCOW (MRC) -- Ineos today confirmed that its vessel, the INEOS Intrepid, has arrived at the INEOS petrochemicals plant at Rafnes in Norway, carrying 27.500m3 of US shale gas ethane, said the producer on its site.
This is the very first time that ethane from US shale gas has ever been exported from the USA and the first time it has been imported into Europe. It gives the continent the chance to benefit from US shale gas economics which did so much to revitalise manufacturing in the USA.
Jim Ratcliffe, chairman and founder of Ineos, says, "This is a strategically important day for INEOS and Europe. We know that shale gas economics revitalised US manufacturing and for the first time ever Europe can access this essential energy and raw material source too."
The INEOS Intrepid is currently one of four specially designed Dragon class ships that will form part of a fleet of eight of the world’s largest ethane capable carriers.
The project has included the design and long term charter of all eight Dragon class ships which will collectively create a virtual pipeline across the Atlantic; connection to the new 300 mile Mariner East pipeline from the Marcellus shale in Western Pennsylvania to the Marcus Hook deep water terminal near Philadelphia, together with new export facilities and storage tanks.
Ineos has invested USD2 billion bringing US shale gas to Europe.
To receive the gas, Ineos has built the largest two ethane gas storage tanks in Europe at Rafnes in Norway and Grangemouth in Scotland.
Ineos will use the ethane from US shale gas in its two gas crackers at Rafnes and Grangemouth, both as a fuel and as a feedstock. It is expected that shipments to Grangemouth will start later this year.
Jim Ratcliffe adds, "We are nearing the end of a hugely ambitious project that has taken us five years and cost USD2 billion, as we begin supply of ethane from shale to our sites in Europe. This is a world first and I am incredibly proud of everyone involved in it. I believe that Ineos is one of very companies in the world who could have successfully pulled this off. "
As MRC wrote before, Ineos Group Ltd. is considering expansion of its plants in USA to take advantage of low-cost natural-gas liquids as feedstock for ethylene production. The company is likely to add 250 mln-1 bln lbs of annual ethylene production at its Chocolate Bayou site south of Houston, Dennis Seith, chief executive officer of the company’s U.S. olefins and polymers unit, said. Additional polypropylene and alpha-olefins capacity may be added at the site. Decisions on all three investments will be made within a year, with the expanded ethylene output available early next decade, he said in an interview.
INEOS Group Limited is a privately owned multinational chemicals company consisting of 15 standalone business units, headquartered in Rolle, Switzerland and with its registered office in Lyndhurst, United Kingdom. It is the fourth largest chemicals company in the world measured by revenues (after BASF, Dow Chemical and LyondellBasell) and the largest privately owned company in the United Kingdom.