In the second half of this year, the first shipment of the shale gas ethane imported into the UK from the United States will arrive at the Grangemouth refinery of INEOS as part of the Swiss company’s $1bn global project to import the gas to Scotland and Norway to replace declining North Sea gas.
The INEOS project has involved a 100-mile pipeline from the Marcellus Shale in western Pennsylvania to the Marcus Hook terminal near Philadelphia. The Danish gas shipping company Evergas has ordered eight large Dragon class ships from the Sinopacific Offshore & Engineering shipyard in Qidong, China, and they are being chartered by INEOS Europe to carry the liquified shale gas from the US to the terminals at Grangemouth and at Rafnes, in Norway.
On Mar 9, the company’s LNG multigas carrier JS Ineos Intrepid, 20,917dwt, left the Marcus Hook terminal for Rafnes carrying the first US shale gas cargo ever shipped to Europe. She carried 27,500cu m of ethane, which was cooled to minus 90 deg C and arrived at Rafnes on March 23.
Jim Ratcliffe, chairman and founder of INEOS, said: “This is an important day for Europe. We know that shale gas economics revitalised US manufacturing and for the first time, Europe can access this important energy and raw material source.”