Historic cargo leaves Marcus Hook on Evergas Dragon vessel bound for Norway.
A new trade of ethane from the US to northern Europe has kicked off with the departure of the first shipment.
Petrochemicals manufacturer Ineos said its chartered vessel, the 27,500-cbm JS Ineos Intrepid (built 2015), left Sunoco Logistics’ Marcus Hook terminal near Philadelphia on the US east coast bound for Rafnes in Norway.
The vessel, emblazoned with the words “Shale gas for progress” along its hull, is loaded with 27,500-cbm of ethane produced from US shale gas.
The company said: “This is the first time that US shale gas has been shipped to Europe and represents the culmination of a long-term investment by Ineos.”
JS Ineos Intrepid is one of eight ethane and LNG-capable so-called “Dragon ships” ordered by Evergas against 15-year charters with Ineos.
Four of the vessels, all of which are capable of using LNG as fuel, have yet to be delivered.
The first ethane shipment had been expected to leave early in the New Year following the arrival at the new export facilities in December of a commissioning cargo of North Sea produced ethane.
The new trade will see over 800,000 tonnes per annum (tpa) of shale gas-produced ethane shipped from Marcus Hook to the gas crackers in Rafnes, Norway, and Grangemouth in Scotland, where Ineos says it has built the two largest ethane gas storage tanks in Europe.
Shipments to Grangemouth are due to start later this year.