Ineos’ Grangemouth Ethane Storage Tank on Track

With the help of four low-pressure fans, Ineos has “raised the roof” on the new ethane tank it is installing at its mammoth petrochemical complex at Grangemouth, Scotland – a first step toward creating the infrastructure to import US shale gas-derived ethane.

With the 330-t top now firmly in place, work is set to begin on the internal structure of the tank, which will be the biggest in Europe, measuring 56 m in diameter, 44 m in height and designed to hold more than 60,000 cbm of ethane.

“We know that US ethane has transformed US manufacturing, and now Scottish industry will benefit as well,” said John McNally, chief executive of Ineos O&P UK. “This,” he said, “will secure a cost-effective supply of ethane for the next 15 years, and give a sustainable base for Grangemouth for that time.”

While remarking that, “it is still early days on this project,” McNally said plans for the liquefied gas imports are on schedule to be delivered in the second half of 2016.

With shale gas exploration licenses – including one covering the area surrounding its Grangemouth complex – already in management’s pocket, the Swiss-based petrochemicals and plastics giant is hoping to produce its own gas and become independent of imports. However, opposition to fracking across the UK is strong, and the Scottish government earlier this year imposed a de facto moratorium on exploration until it has time to study the environmental effects.

Ineos is taking its case to the residents of the areas at town hall meetings and with offers to share the company’s profits from fracking.

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