As the first ethane shipment arrived from the United States at Ineos’s Grangemouth, United Kingdom, site Tuesday, Ineos announced plans for a renaissance of the site and a commitment to work with Scottish Enterprise, an economic development agency, to look for new businesses to invest in there.
Grangemouth is in Scotland. Cheap and plentiful ethane gas from the United States will provide a competitive advantage to the site and attract third-party investors, the company says.
The vessel Ineos Insight arrived at Grangemouth carrying 27,500 cubic meters of ethane from US shale fields. It is the first time that ethane derived from US shale gas has been shipped to the United Kingdom and represents the culmination of a $2-billion investment by Ineos. The company says it intends eventually to use eight of the company’s new Dragon-class ships to provide a “virtual pipeline” transporting US ethane to Europe to replace dwindling gas supplies from the North Sea. The gas will feed Ineos’s 750,000–metric tons/year ethylene plant at the Grangemouth site. Some quantities will be transported from Grangemouth via a pipeline to the Mossmorran cracker owned by ExxonMobil with offtake rights for Shell.
Ineos’s new vision for Grangemouth is to build on the jobs saved by transforming the site to consume ethane and possibly turn the site into a manufacturing hub for Scotland, Ineos says. “Grangemouth will provide the base and incubator for new manufacturing that can use our US ethane feedstock, world-class facilities, and energy supply to compete with the best in the world,” says John McNally, CEO/olefins and polymers, United Kingdom at Ineos. As part of Ineos’s huge investment in infrastructure to ship gas from the United States, Ineos built the United Kingdom’s largest ethane import terminal at Grangemouth. The next stage is creating a chemical “cluster” at the site where Ineos will work with Scottish Enterprise to create a home for chemical and other types of manufacturer, McNally says.
The upgraded site will provide businesses with a competitive advantage, Ineos says. “In 2013, our immediate hope for Grangemouth was survival. With the advent of US shale gas, we are delighted that not only will the site be profitable in 2016 but that we are in a position to extend these benefits to chemical manufacturing and industry in general,” McNally says.
The project has included the design and long-term charter of all eight Dragon-class ships to provide the virtual pipeline across the Atlantic; connection to the new 300-mile Mariner East gas pipeline from the Marcellus Shale in western Pennsylvania to the Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania, deepwater terminal; and new export facilities and storage tanks.
“We are nearing the end of a hugely ambitious project that has taken us five years and cost $2 billion as we begin supplying ethane from shale to our sites in Europe. This is a world first,” says Jim Ratcliffe, chairman and founder of Ineos,
By Natasha Alperowicz
Source: Chemical Week
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