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GRANGEMOUTH, Scotland (ICIS)--INEOS’ 760,000 tonne/year cracker at Grangemouth in Scotland, UK, received on Tuesday morning its first shipment of ethane from the US, as Britain's opposition Labour Party vowed to ban fracking.
The first Dragon Ship arrived from Marcus Hook in Pennsylvania, bringing the fracked gas to a newly built jetty and storage tank.
INEOS has said it will run the Grangemouth cracker at full capacity with the new supply of feedstock. Cracker output had declined as ethane supply from the North Sea had fallen.
The first ethane shipment to the UK – 27,500 cubic metres - was greeted with some ceremony, the vessel piped ashore by a lone piper, a former INEOS employee, on its prow.
Jim Ratcliffe, chairman and founder of INEOS, said: “This is a hugely important day for INEOS and the UK. We are very excited about the kick-start shale gas can give to British manufacturing.”
INEOS has invested $2bn to bring US ethane into Europe. The company already supplies its cracker at Rafnes in Norway with US ethane.It is keen to begin test drilling and eventually fracking for gas in the UK, but Britain's opposition Labour party on Monday vowed to ban the controversial exploration technique.
The UK government is broadly supportive of fracking, but no local approval has been awarded since fracking was first carried out in the northwest of the country by Cuadrilla amid some controversy.
INEOS said it would now work with Scottish Enterprise to look for new businesses to be based at the Grangemouth site.
“Grangemouth will provide the base and incubator for new manufacturing that can use our US ethane feedstock, world class facilities and energy supply to compete with the best in the world,” said John McNally, CEO of INEOS O&P (Olefins and Polymers).
“The investment by INEOS reverses a vicious circle of decline brought about by reducing raw materials from the North Sea, McNally added.
“In its place we are creating virtuous cycle of new investment and new business, creating growth, improving competitiveness, bringing with it more investment,” he said.