Shale ship won’t dock until tomorrow

The Ineos Insight tanker making its way up the River Forth this morning. Picture: Michael Gillen

The Ineos Insight tanker making its way up the River Forth this morning. Picture: Michael Gillen

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The Ineos ship bringing in the UK’s first shale gas produced from fracking won’t dock until tomorrow due to adverse weather conditions.

The Ineos Insight Dragon Class ship made its way up the River Forth this morning with much fanfare as Jim Ratcliffe, chairman and founder of the Grangemouth-based company, welcomed its arrival as “a hugely important day for INEOS and the UK”.

A happy Jim Ratcliffe at today's press conference. Picture: Michael Gillen

A happy Jim Ratcliffe at today's press conference. Picture: Michael Gillen

The tanker is carrying 27,500m3 of liquid ethane from US shale fields and was due to dock at Grangemouth today.

However, the company has confirmed that the weather has prevented the tanker from docking and it won’t be able to until tomorrow.

A spokesman said: “Weather has prevented the Dragon ship from docking in Grangemouth. There has been 50-knot winds today.

“We believe it will not be until high tide tomorrow afternoon until it will be able to dock.”

The Ineos Insight. Picture: Michael Gillen

The Ineos Insight. Picture: Michael Gillen

According to the petrochemical giant, the gas, which was obtained through the process of hydraulic fracturing or fracking, will replace dwindling North Sea supplies and secure the future of the plant’s workforce.

It hopes the US shale gas will provide sufficient raw material to run its manufacturing site at full rates, something that has not been possible for many years.

It’s first time that ethane from US shale gas has ever been exported from the USA to the UK. Ineos says it provides British industry the chance to benefit from US shale gas economics which helped revitalise manufacturing in the USA.

The 180-metre long Insight is one of eight specially designed Dragon class ships that will form a fleet of the world’s largest ethane capable carriers.

Protestors outside the Ineos HQ this morning. Picture: Michael Gillen

Protestors outside the Ineos HQ this morning. Picture: Michael Gillen

Ineos CEO John McNally said: “The investment by INEOS reverses a viscous circle of decline brought about by reducing raw materials from the North Sea.

“In its place we are creating virtuous cycle of new investment and new business, creating growth, improving competitiveness, bringing with it more investment.”

Mr Ratcliffe said: “This is a hugely important day for INEOS and the UK. We are very excited about the kick-start shale gas can give to British manufacturing.

“We are nearing the end of a hugely ambitious project that has taken us five years and cost $2 billion, as we begin supply of ethane from shale to our sites in Europe.”

Protestors made their feelings known about the environmental impact of fracking outside the new Ineos HQ earlier today.