INEOS boss launches first two shale-gas supertankers in China to supply his Scottish refinery

 Jim Ratcliffe at the launch of the Ineos Insight Dragon shale supertanker in Shanghai
Jim Ratcliffe at the launch of the Ineos Insight Dragon shale supertanker in Shanghai

The naming ceremony of the Dragon-class shale gas supertanker, the JS Ineos Insight in China yesterday marks the practical start of INEOS’ $1 billion global project to bring shale gas from the USA to Europe.

The Insight is one of eight supertankers being built at a Shanghai shipyard for INEOS ships to transport over 800,000 tonnes a year of ethane gas at -90°C across the Atlantic from the USA to Norway and Scotland.

This project will help revolutionise the European chemicals industry by reducing both its feedstock costs and energy costs – and provide a long-term future for Grangemouth and thousands of Scots workers in the Central Belt.

The naming ceremony was attended by Mr Li Shousheng, Chairman of CPCIF (Chinese Petrochemical Industry Federation), Jean-Jacques de Dardel, Switzerland’s Ambassador to China, INEOS Chairman Jim Ratcliffe, Steffen Jacobsen, Chief Executive, Evergas and Simon Liang, Chairman of Sino-Pacific. Ratcliffe said, “Today is a landmark day for both INEOS and Europe.

“We have seen how US shale gas revolutionised US manufacturing and we believe these huge ships will help do the same for Europe.

“INEOS together with Evergas has commissioned eight brand new ships, accessed hundreds of miles of new pipeline and built two enormous terminals to get US shale gas to Europe. The scale of the whole project is truly breathtaking”.

INEOS Jim Ratcliffe at the launch of the Ineos Insight Dragon shale supertanker2The JS INEOS Insight and carries the slogan “Shale Gas For Manufacturing” in huge letters emblazoned the length of its hull, while the second ship – the JS Ineos Ingenuity – carries the legend, “Shale Gas For Chemicals” along its flank.  

They are the first two of eight Dragon class ships that will be built and each one is the length of two soccer pitches. Each ship can carry over 27,500 cubic meters of liquefied gas at -90°C.

Swiss ambassador Jean-Jacque de Dardel said: “Sixty five years ago, Switzerland and China began an extraordinary partnership. Today, our two countries continue to set impressive milestones. This project is a fine example of Swiss and Chinese companies coming together to produce ground-breaking engineering, delivering the most modern and environmentally sustainable gas carriers ever built”.

Evergas is the Danish gas shipping company that designed the vessels. It was chosen because it is one of the world’s leading seaborne transporters of petrochemical gases and natural gas liquids.

Steffen Jacobsen, Chief Executive, Evergas, said: “I’ve worked in the shipping business for 35 years and it’s fair to say that these ships represent a world first on many levels.

“No-one has ever tried to ship ethane in these quantities and over this distance before. To do this, we had to invent completely new ways of doing things. These ships are truly unique.”

Sino-Pacific Offshore and Engineering is one of the largest shipbuilders in the world and is the company charged with constructing the eight Dragon class ships. These vessels are being built at its Qidong shipyard which covers 855,000m3 with a quay line of 1.3km along the Yangtze River.

Simon Liang, Chairman, said: “Sino-Pacific is one of very few companies that has the skills and construction facilities to take on the building of these massively complex vessels.”

The INEOS Insight and the INEOS Ingenuity will begin their maiden voyages later this month..

Jim Ratcliffe, INEOS founder and chairman, added:

“The scale of the project is extraordinary. We’re going to move more than 40,000 barrels of gas a day – every day of the year for 15 years – from the US to Europe.

 “Any way you look at it, this is an extraordinary achievement.This gas will keep our businesses competitive for years to come and guarantee jobs and investment. I am incredibly proud of what has been achieved here”.

See also:

The UK Shale Energy Conference 2015: Will Shale Gas Replace Oil in the UK – With or Without Fracking? –


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