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Ineos to import U.S. ethane for ExxonMobil-owned ethylene plant in Scotland

By Mary Page Bailey |

Ineos (Rolle, Switzerland; www.ineos.com), ExxonMobil Chemical Limited (www.exxonmobilchemical.com) and Shell Chemicals Europe B.V. announced a longterm sale and purchase agreement to secure ethane from U.S. shale gas for the Fife Ethylene Plant (FEP) at Mossmorran in Scotland, from mid 2017.

The Fife plant will receive ethane from Ineos’ new import terminal in Grangemouth, Scotland. Access to this new source of feedstock will help complement  supplies from North Sea natural gas fields. The agreement will also ensure the competitiveness of a major manufacturing facility in Scotland and help secure skilled jobs in the long run.

FEP is owned and operated by ExxonMobil, and Shell has 50% capacity rights.

Ethane gas is a vital raw material needed to produce ethylene, which itself is used in the manufacture of a broad range of products across the U.K. and is exported to Europe and other world markets. Access to ethane from shale production will provide sufficient raw material to run U.K. steamcrackers to make ethylene at full operating rates.

“This is a landmark agreement for everyone involved”, says Geir Tuft Business Director at Ineos O&P UK. “We know that ethane from U.S. shale gas has transformed U.S. manufacturing and we are now seeing this advantage being shared across Scotland.”

“Today’s agreement helps to secure additional feedstock for the Fife plant,” said Karen McKee, vice president of ExxonMobil’s global basic chemicals business.

“This agreement gives FEP access to the new infrastructure developed by Ineos and in so doing brings US advantaged ethane to FEP. The agreement will help us to meet the long-term needs of our ethylene customers” said Elise Nowee, General Manager Base Chemicals Europe, Shell Chemicals.

Ineos has committed £450 million to construct the new ethane import terminal at its Grangemouth facility. It represents the most significant investment in UK petrochemical manufacturing in recent times and is supported by both the UK and Scottish governments. An existing pipeline will transport the gas from Grangemouth to Fife.

The Fife Ethylene Plant is one of Europe’s largest and most modern ethylene facilities. The plant started production in 1985, and is one of only four natural gas-fed steam crackers in Europe. It was the first plant specifically designed to use natural gas liquids from the North Sea as feedstock. Alongside Ineos Grangemouth, it supplies manufacturing in Scotland, the rest of the U.K. and export markets with ethylene. It has an annual capacity of 830,000 metric tons of ethylene.

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