The INEOS ship, the INEOS Intrepid, is the world’s largest Liquefied natural gas (LNG) multi gas carrier. It has left the Marcus Hook terminal near Philadelphia, USA, bound for Rafnes in Norway. It carries 27.500 m3 of US shale gas ethane. The shale gas is cooled to –90 ºC (–130 ºF) for the journey of 3,800 miles, which is expected to take nine to ten days.
This is the first time that US shale gas has ever been imported into Europe and finally gives it the chance to benefit from US shale gas economics which did so much to revitalize manufacturing in the USA. US shale gas will complement the reducing gas feed from the North Sea.
The project has included the long-term chartering of eight Dragon class ships and will create a virtual pipeline across the Atlantic and a 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, 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 in Norway and Grangemouth in Scotland. The company will use the ethane from US 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.
- INEOS, Rolle, Switzerland