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Borealis pushing ahead on US ethane import plan

08.07.2014  | 

Navigator Holdings will undertake the shipping of ethane from the US, with the construction of a new vessel underway, the Vienna-based company said in a statement.

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By ANDREW NOEL
Bloomberg

Borealis, an Austrian petrochemical company controlled by Abu Dhabi, signed a long- term ethane supply contract with Antero Resources as it pushes ahead with a plan to import cheaper US feedstock for its plant in Sweden.

Navigator Holdings will undertake the shipping of ethane from the US, with the construction of a new vessel underway, the Vienna-based company said in a statement. 

Borealis’ steam cracker in Stenungsund will see a multi-million investment to upgrade the facility and the construction of an ethane storage tank, it said without giving further details.

“We need to take advantage of the significant shift in ethane availability triggered by the US shale gas boom,” Borealis CEO Mark Garrett said in the statement. “In an increasingly challenging environment in Europe, this is an exciting opportunity to increase the competitiveness of our integrated polyolefins business.”

Borealis is joining INEOS, Europe’s other owner of flexible crackers that can operate on ethane rather than naphtha, in tapping cheap feedstock from the US Marcellus and Utica shale formations as North Sea energy supplies wane.

A rennaissance in the US chemical industry, fueled by shale, and increased production in the Middle East and China poses a threat to European plants. While BASF’s petrochemical facilities are fully integrated into its naphtha cracker, helping maximize efficiency, isolated petrochemical plants will face the greatest cost presssure.



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