U.S. exports first ethane to Europe

First Ship 650

The following is the text of a news release from INEOS:

(PHILADELPHIA) — INEOS Intrepid, the world’s largest LNG multi-gas carrier, left the Marcus Hook terminal near Philadelphia on Wednesday bound for Rafnes, Norway, carrying 27,500 cubic meters of U.S. shale gas ethane.

This is the first time that U.S. shale gas has ever been shipped to Europe and represents the culmination of a long-term investment by INEOS.

The shale gas is cooled to -90º C (-130º F) for the journey of 3,800 miles, which is expected to take nine to 10 days. U.S. shale gas will complement the reducing gas feed from the North Sea.

Jim Ratcliffe, chairman and founder of INEOS, said, “This is an important day for INEOS and Europe. We know that shale gas economics revitalized U.S. manufacturing and for the first time Europe can access this important energy and raw material source too.”

INEOS Intrepid is one of four specially designed Dragon-class ships that will form a fleet of eight of the world’s largest ethane-capable carriers. INEOS Intrepid has “SHALE GAS FOR PROGRESS” emblazoned along its 590-foot length.

The project includes the long-term chartering of eight Dragon-class ships and will create a virtual pipeline across the Atlantic, with connection to the new 300-mile Mariner East pipeline from the Marcellus shale in western Pennsylvania to the Marcus Hook deepwater terminal near Philadelphia, with new export facilities and storage tanks.

To receive the gas, INEOS has built the largest two ethane gas storage tanks in Europe at Rafnes, Norway, and Grangemouth, Scotland. INEOS will use the ethane from U.S. 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.

“We are nearing the end of a hugely ambitious project that has taken us five years," Ratcliffe said. "I am proud of everyone involved in it and I believe that INEOS is one of very few companies in the world who could have successfully pulled this off. I can’t wait for the INEOS Intrepid to finally get to Norway and complete the job."

By Professional Mariner Staff