Borealis Charters Carrier for US Ethane
Major polyolefins player Borealis has entered into a long-term charter agreement with Navigator Gas to ship ethane from the US to Sweden, echoing moves by fellow producer Ineos, which received its first shipment of US ethane in Rafnes, Norway, in mid-March this year. The Navigator Aurora, which will be commissioned in the fourth quarter of 2016, will be the world’s largest ethane carrier, capable of holding up to 20,000. The vessel is 180 meters long and has a total cargo tank size of 35,000m3. The naming ceremony was held on May 3, at the Jiangnan shipyard in Shanghai, China.
Borealis’ CEO, Mark Garrett, said the company will import 240,000 t/y of US shale-derived ethane for its crackers in Stenungsund, Sweden, and Porvoo, Finland, which can also process liquids and LPG. The company signed a 10-year agreement in August 2014 with Antero Resources to source ethane from the Marcellus and Utica shale gas fields.
The ship, which will sail between the Marcus Hook refinery in Pennsylvania and Stenungsund, can run on both diesel fuel and LNG, meeting increasingly stringent environmental regulations and benefitting from current low natural gas prices.
Markku Korvenranta, executive vice president base chemicals at Borealis, said the vessel is a key part of its efforts to secure a safe, cost-efficient and reliable supply of ethane for operations over the long term. He added that the project and related investments underlined Borealis’ commitment to further strengthen its monomer position in Europe.
The company is currently upgrading its cracker at Stenungsund and adding an ethane storage tank and said work was proceeding to plan. The commissioning of a new unloading and storage facility will start in the fourth quarter of 2016.