Big Boats

On the 28th September 2016, the INEOS Insight docked at the INEOS site at Grangemouth bringing US ethane from shale gas to the UK for the first time.

A first for Britain

This is the very first time that ethane from US shale gas has ever been exported from the USA to the UK.

The much needed ethane gas from US shale fields will provide Grangemouth with a vital raw material as availability from the North Sea has fallen dramatically.

Jim Ratcliffe, chairman and founder of INEOS, says, “I am pleased to say the INEOS Insight has arrived at Grangemouth site. This is a game changer for British manufacturing. Its arrival guarantees the security of thousands of jobs in Scotland and could spark a shale gas revolution”.

INEOS have invested $2bn into this world first project.


Scroll down for further interview, films & information


Jim Ratcliffe BBC Interview

Jim Ratcliffe Sky Interview

Tom Crotty BBC Interview

Tom Crotty BBC Interview

Welcome to Grangemouth

Grangemouth represents INEOS’ largest manufacturing site by volume of products. It is home to Scotland’s only crude oil refinery and produces the bulk of fuels used in Scotland.

This world scale petrochemical plant makes around 1million tonnes of product per annum. These products are used as essential ‘building blocks’ in the manufacture of household items that we all depend upon every day. These products are used extensively by industry and transformed into bottles and pipes, cabling and insulation, as well as being vital to food packaging and the pharmaceutical industry.

A Bold Plan

In 2010, Europe’s oil & gas industry was in turmoil due to poor availability of competitively priced raw materials and volatile fuel prices. Facing the forced closure of up to half of INEOS Grangemouth assets, INEOS came up with a bold plan. With the US feedstock market on the rise due to shale gas, which re-viatlised the oil & gas industry across the Atlantic, INEOS came up with a bold plan: To ship the shale gas to Europe on custom built gas carrier ships.

Building The Dragons

There were no ships big enough to transport liquid Ethane and INEOS needed to find an innovative partner to help build the custom gas carrier ships. In January 2013 a partnership was formed between INEOS and Evergas, Danish experts in shipbuilding.

Evergas put forward an idea for a ship that had been re-designed from the keel upwards, making it the most advanced, flexible and largest gas carrier ship in the world. HSVA in Hamburg were employed to design the ships hull and in Spain Wärtsilä designed a new greener engine that is fuelled by Ethane making it a World first.

These unique vessels needed a new classification. They were to be called Dragon class.

The vessels are being be built in China. 5,000 people taking between 1-2 million man hours to build each vessel. The first four ships have now been launched and over the next year another four will built and launched.

The US Story

300 miles inland on the West Coast of America in West Pennsylvania, exploration companies, are extracting Shale Gas from the Appalachian Basin which has some of the largest Shale Gas deposits in the world. This has now become one of the sources of INEOS’ raw materials and with a 15 year deal with Sunoco a US oil company a 300 mile pipeline has been built to transport the Shale gas to the once almost derelict oil refinery at Marcus Hook West of Philadelphia. After the deal with INEOS over 3 years ago the site has been completely regenerated which has had a massively positive impact on the surrounding area. The site is on the banks of the Delaware River where the Dragon ships can now load the ethane gas bound for Rafnes in Norway and Grangemouth in Scotland.

Grangemouth Renaissance

As one of the oldest sites in the INEOS family, Grangemouth needed to upgrade its infrastructure to receive and store a new ready supply of Ethane. This included a new import terminal a cryogenic tank so that it can store up to 30,000 tonnes of liquid Ethane at any one time. It has also built a brand new office building that brings everyone together.

This new feedstock source will breathe new life into the entire site increasing production and profit throughout. It will also help other companies in Scotland that need the same raw materials, an existing pipeline from Fyfe, that used to feed Grangemouth, has now been reversed so that the much needed ethane supply can be used at the Mossmorran facility from 2017.

Grangemouth Celebration

This project has been 5 years in the making and the Grangemouth site has gone through a massive transformation over the last 2 years, which at some points seemed impossible. With this shipment of ethane from the US, the site has transformed from loss making to profit making and has its heartbeat back.

Everyone has been very excited about the arrival of the new raw material supply. When the shipment of Ethane docked at the new jetty it was an emotional moment for the whole team.


Whilst European gas production is crumbling, America's is booming. INEOS has a bold, pioneering plan: to ship US ethane gas to Europe bringing competitive advantage from America into Europe. The company has secured 15 year contracts for the purchase, distribution and shipping of ethane from the US, underpinning the economics of its petrochemicals assets in Europe for many years to come.

Five short films document the design and build of highly advanced, sustainable fleet of eight vessels that will be essential in supporting the INEOS plan. They are the largest, most flexible, advanced multigas carriers ever built.

The INEOS Dragon Ships are part of a grand scheme, global in scale, breath-taking in vision. INEOS is investing more than $2bn to ship US Gas to Europe.

“People said it couldn’t be done. At INEOS we believe everything is possible.” Jim Ratcliffe.