First US shale gas reaches Europe

The INEOS Intrepid gas carrier, owned by Swiss chemicals company INEOS, has arrived at the company’s petrochemicals plant at Rafnes in Norway, the company confirmed, thus marking the first ever shipment of US shale to Europe.

The ship was loaded with 27,500m3 of US shale gas ethane.

“Shale gas economics has revitalised US manufacturing, it has the potential to do the same for European manufacturing,” says Jim Ratcliffe, the chairman and founder of INEOS.

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.

INEOS, which has invested USD 2 billion bringing US shale gas to Europe, intends to use the ethane from US shale gas in its two gas crackers at Rafnes and Grangemouth, both as a fuel and as a feedstock. To receive the gas, INEOS has built the largest two ethane gas storage tanks in Europe at Rafnes in Norway and Grangemouth in Scotland.

It is expected that shipments to Grangemouth will start later this year.

The project has included the design and long term charter of all eight Dragon class ships which are set to 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.

“We are nearing the end of a hugely ambitious project that has taken us five years and cost USD 2 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,” Ratcliffe adds.

Copyright Ships & Ports Ltd. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit given to as the source.