Exploration & Production

Costs may constrain transatlantic ethane trade

Transatlantic ethane shipments look set to grow, but shipping and plant constraints may limit the petrochemical feedstock’s market share Transatlantic ethane shipments look set to grow, but shipping and plant constraints may limit the petrochemical feedstock’s market share.
By Peter Stewart 5 October 2016 0 24389
An INEOS Dragon-class ethane carrier. A shipment of the fuel arrived in the UK last week. (INEOS)

The ethane tanker INEOS Insight – blazoned with the slogan "Shale gas for manufacturing"– arrived at the Scottish port of Grangemouth last week to deliver the first cargo of shale gas to the UK. Media reports referring to the shipment as being LNG were incorrect – it was in fact carrying ethane, which is used along with propane and butane as a petrochemical feedstock.

Ethane is a type of NGL – as are propane, butane and pentane – and is primarily used in the production of...