Ineos Unveils Plans for Grangemouth Ethane Terminal

08.12.2013 -

After winning promises of investment aid from the UK and Scottish governments, Ineos has ripped detailed plans for its proposed £300 million ethane terminal at Grangemouth off the drawing board and presented a blueprint to British authorities.

Unsurprisingly, the plans bear a distinct similarity to the facility the company is building at Rafnes, Norway, due to be fully operational in early 2015. The new Scottish terminal, for which start-up has been pencilled in for 2016, will have a new 40-meter high storage tank capable of holding 33,000 t of liquefied ethane produced from U.S. shale gas.

Docking facilities will be built on the banks of the nearby river Forth for two ships specially commissioned by the company to transport the gas from the U.S. to Scotland, and the site's ethylene cracker is to be revamped and expanded. When the upgrades are finished, Grangemouth could have capability to process around 400 t of U.S. ethane - that is, if opponents of gas exports in Congress do not thwart the ambitious plan.

Ineos has warned that the new projects will go hand in hand with the closure of other facilities at Grangemouth, noting that three older plants "have reached the end of their useful life." A benzene unit is due to close at an unspecified time in 2014, the G4 naphtha cracker and butadiene plant in 2015.

The trade union Unite, which only agreed to accept management's survival plan for the loss-making site after chairman Jim Ratcliffe threatened to liquidate all assets, urged the Swiss-based company to "come clean over job losses, the timescales involved and provide assurances to the workforce this Christmas."