By: John Whitehead
April 7, 2014
Being home to two of Europe’s four cracker plants able to process shale gas meant the United Kingdom is well placed to take advantage of anticipated supplies of the raw material, according to Ineos Group AG’s director Tom Crotty.
Speaking last week — and on the day the group announced the contract with TGE for a gas storage facility at its Grangemouth site in Scotland — Crotty pointed to Ineos’ own unit, plus the Shell/Exxon Mossmorran cracker: “The U.K. is better able to exploit low price gas than anyone else in Europe,” he said.
Crotty called the adoption of shale gas “a no brainer” and highlighted the change in the petrochemical landscape wrought by the US flows of the cheap gas which has brought its feedstock costs close to Middle East levels.
Speaking at a dinner for journalists hosted by the Chemical Industries’ Association, Crotty called on Europe’s chemical companies to stand up and push for “the big benefits that will accrue”.
Crotty’s message reinforced the recent arguments of Ineos chief Jim Ratcliffe to the European Commission president that the region’s chemicals industry was being jeopardized by a failure to recognize new global patterns and needs to boost its competiveness.
Europe will be increasingly targeted by Middle East and other low cost exporters as flows into China are replaced by locally made product, Crotty warned.
“Chinese ethylene costs are now lower than Europe,” he added.