Bringing US shale gas to Europe represented a formidable logistical and costly challenge for INEOS.
The ethane gas begins its journey from Marcellus Shale in Western Pennsylvania.
The Mariner East Pipeline carries it 300 miles to the Marcus Hook terminal near
Philadelphia where it is loaded onto the INEOS Dragon ship fleet.
The Insight and her seven sisters are the world’s largest
specifically built ethane multi-gas carriers.
Each is as long as two football pitches. The cargo tanks are big enough to carry 5,750 Mini Coopers.
During the 15-year INEOS contract, each vessel will travel the equivalent of five return journeys from the earth to the moon.
At Grangemouth the ethane will be stored in a 40-metre high storage tank, Europe’s biggest, with a 60,000 cubic metre capacity.
The new Grangemouth terminal will also benefit the Fife ethylene plant in Mossmorran.
Access to the new source of feedstock will complement supplies from North Sea natural gas fields and help secure jobs at the Fife site.
INEOS will now work with Scottish Enterprise to create a new home for chemical and other manufacturers at Grangemouth.
John McNally, INEOS chief executive, stated: “In 2013 our immediate hope for Grangemouth was survival.
“With US shale gas, not only will the site be
profitable in 2016 but we are in a position to extend these benefits to
chemical manufacturing and industry in general.”