Grangemouth closure necessitates new strategy for UK chems: consultant

23 October 2013 15:45  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--The closure of the Grangemouth petrochemical site signals the need for urgent action to improve the profitability of the UK chemical sector, a consultant said on Wednesday.

With ethane formerly used by the Grangemouth petrochemical facility now available for other uses, the UK government could help the industry plan a new feedstocks and cracker strategy, according to David Jones, managing director of consultancy Industrial Commercial Ventures.

He said: “Looking longer term we should start asking what can be done with what’s left of UK petrochemicals. Can we better integrate it to reduce the need for US shale gas imports?”

Jones suggested it might be feasible to adapt the country’s ethylene pipeline network to transport dry gas from the Forties Pipeline System (FPS), which feeds Grangemouth from the North Sea, to other parts of the UK chemical sector such as Wilton in the north east of England.

He points out that UK crackers can already crack natural gas liquids (NGLs), with  Grangemouth and Mossmorran (also in Scotland) cracking ethane, and Wilton handling ethane and propane.

“It could be modified without a huge investment: UK cracking infrastructure is well-positioned. The UK chemical industry could begin to operate in a more integrated way, facilitated by the government. Things could be done on feedstocks and infrastructure. Now is the time to think about that,” he added.
Author: William Beacham

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