Italy's Versalis eyes US shale gas imports for European crackers

18 April 2013 19:20  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Versalis is considering investing in cheaper shale gas-derived ethane stocks from the US for several of its European plants, the CEO of the Italy-based petrochemicals specialist said on Thursday.

The ENI subsidiary, which is looking to increase its earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) by more than €500m ($649m) by 2016, is considering shale ethane import contracts for two of its crackers, in Italy and France, according to CEO Daniele Ferrari.

Speaking to the ICIS on the sidelines of a Versalis analyst and press day in London, UK, he said: “There is already one of our crackers, Brindisi [Italy]... which has the capability to switch and use ethane. This is already in place. The other one we are considering is Dunkirk [France]. Dunkirk geographically is positioned in the North Sea, and with a minimal investment, we could build up that facility as well.

“There are several companies that are already offering ethane at very favourable prices from North America either from the Gulf or the Philadelphia Marcus Hook area. There are some very large operators that are starting to look for long-term contracts,” he added.

Ferrari declined to comment on a date for when an agreement might be reached with any of those suppliers.

“It’s a work in progress. We don’t have a specific date for the time being,” he added.

($1 = €0.77)


By: Tom Brown
+44 208 652 3214



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