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Ineos Started Shipping US Shale Gas to Europe

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(Credit: JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images) Jim Ratcliffe, chairman and chief executive of Swiss-based petrochemical firm Ineos, listens during a press conference in London on November 20, 2014. Ineos launched plans on November 20 to become the biggest player in Britain's fracking sector with a 1.0-billion USD (800 million euros, 640 million GBP) investment in the nation's shale gas industry. Ineos already has fracking licences near its plant at Grangemouth in Scotland, but is applying for more in Scotland and the north of England. BRITAIN-SWITZERLAND-ENERGY-GAS-ENVIRONMENT-FRACKING-BUSINESS
March 24
6:10 AM 2016

U.S. shale gas has expanded its market into Europe. Earlier this month Ineos Intrepid, the world-largest LNG carrier has bound for Norway with 27,500 m3 of liquified ethane gas. This marked the first shipment of U.S. shale gas to Europe.

Ineos is the private petrochemical company based in Rolle, Switzerland with office in Lyndhurst, United Kingdom. Jim Ratcliffe founded the company in 1998 in Hampshire, England. In 2010, Ineos was moved its headquarter from Hampshire to Rolle, Switzerland.

The company is also operating its own tanker, including the one that carrying ethane from U.S., Ineos Intrepid, which is also the largest LNG carrier in the world. Ineos Intrepid left the Marcus Hook terminal near Philadelphia on March 9.  Seeking Alpha reported the shipment is another sign of how the North American shale boom has transformed the global energy map.

In the company's official press release, Ineos founder and chairman Jim Ratcliffe said, "This is an important day for Ineos and Europe. We know that shale gas economics revitalised US manufacturing and for the first time Europe can access this important energy and raw material source too"

Ethane is an important component for chemical industry, as a byproduct of natural gas production. Ineos Intrepid carried ethane from Marcellus shale in Pennsylvania, where Range Resources and Consol Energy are the two companies that drilled in the area.

Both companies have a 15-year contract with Ineos to ship ethane, as the companies have been struggling to deal with the low oil price. Unlike crude oil and gas, ethane is not restricted for export from US, but pipeline, transportation and storage limitation have hindered the shipment. Therefore, Ineos has built two largest gas storage tanks in its facility at Rafnes in Norway and Grangemouth in Scotland to receive the gas.

"We are nearing the end of a hugely ambitious project that has taken us five years. 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," said Ratcliffe. Ineos expected to ship the ethane to Grangemouth later this year.

Similar to shale oil, shale gas is also extracted from unyielding shale rocks and it has given America a leading edge in oil and gas production, thus creating the balance of power in energy. Shale oil has revitalized US industry. LNG Industry reported that Ineos expected the same technology will also do the same to European industry.

Ineos Intrepid has started its way to Norway carrying 27,500 m3 of liquified ethane gas. This also marked how U.S. shale revolution has changed the global energy map.

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