MOSCOW (MRC) -- The first gas carrier to load ethane, JS Ineos Intrepid, at Enterprise Products Partners' new ethane export terminal at Morgan's Point, Texas, is finally fully loaded and departed from Houston in early September after a slow cargo loading process since mid-August, as per TankTerminals.
The Ineos ship is headed to Rafnes, Norway. At presstime, the ship was sailing past Kemah, near Galveston.
Enterprise said near midday on Thursday, 1 September, that Intrepid, loaded with approximately 265,000 barrels of ethane, set sail from the facility this morning en route to the INEOS facility at Rafnes in Norway. The Morgan's Point ethane export facility, which is the largest of its kind in the world, has a design loading capacity of 10,000 barrels per hour.
The company said that the driving force behind development of the terminal is the growing international demand for abundant U.S. ethane from shale plays, which offers the global petrochemical industry a low-cost feedstock option and supply diversification. By providing producers with access to the export market, the Morgan's Point terminal is also facilitating continued development of U.S. energy reserves.
Supply for the new ethane export terminal is sourced from Enterprise's natural gas liquids fractionation and storage complex in Mont Belvieu, Texas, and transported through a new 18-mile, 24-inch diameter pipeline that was completed in February of 2016, Enterprise said. In addition, the Mont Belvieu complex is connected to ethane production from the Marcellus and Utica Shale regions through the ATEX pipeline.
OPIS notes that Intrepid will now carry double honors of being the first ship to export ethane out of Marcus Hook near Philadelphia in March as well as the first ship to export ethane out of the new Morgan's Point terminal on the Gulf Coast soon.
The cargo loading has been slow due to expected operational and logistics issues related to a facility startup.
Intrepid, which has a 15,000-ton or 27,500-cubic-meter capacity, is considered a relatively small LPG tanker. A ship of that cargo size should be fully loaded within one to two days, sources said.
Intrepid is no stranger to a slight ethane cargo delay. Earlier this year, the ship faced similar delay at Sunoco Logistics' Marcus Hook for its first ethane export out of Philadelphia. The Marcus Hook complex was said to have started commissioning its ethane export facilities late 2015, but the first ethane export cargo only left in March.
Prior to Intrepid, Ineos had planned in late July to send JS Ineos Insight, a similarly sized ship as Intrepid, from Norway to the Gulf Coast to load at Morgan's Point around Aug. 2.
However, Insight never made it to Texas for the first ethane loading at the new terminal, possibly because Enterprise was not ready to load cargo at that time.
Both Insight and Intrepid are owned by Ineos, and they are two of the eight LPG tankers the company built to deliver shale gas from the U.S. to Europe.
As MRC reported earlier, in December 2015, Chinese shipbuilder JHW Engineering & Contracting secured a contract to build four INEOS MAX liquefied ethane/ethylene carriers for Evergas, a Denmark-based owner and operator of gas carriers. Under the terms of the contract, JHW will build four 32,000m INEOS MAX vessels at a selected shipyard in China. The new carriers will feature dual fuel propulsion flexibility that includes liquefied natural gas (LNG) and ethane, besides ballast water treatment system. The carriers will have increased cargo capacity of about 10% when compared to the Dragon series 27,500m class gas carriers currently owned by the operator.
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.