Scotland business

Grangemouth refinery owner Ineos boosts ethane ship order

Grangemouth Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Ineos said the move offered further security for the future of the Grangemouth site

The company which owns the giant Grangemouth refinery is increasing an order for ships that will bring shale gas from the United States to Europe.

Ineos is boosting an order with US firm Evergas from four to six ethane vessels.

Ineos said the move offered further security for the future of the Grangemouth petrochemical site.

The company threatened to close the site in October after a dispute with the Unite union.

But it decided to keep the site open after workers accepted changes to pay, pensions and terms and conditions.

In a statement, Ineos said the multi-gas carriers would enter service in 2015, transporting shale gas from the Texas Gulf coast to Grangemouth and to Rafnes in Norway.

The vessels are currently under construction in China.

'Long-term security'

David Thompson, of Ineos, said: "Having worked successfully with Evergas for more than a decade, we are very confident that these vessels will provide long-term security and competitiveness of our feedstock supplies."

In March, Ineos said new "milestones" had been reached in moves to import shale gas from the United States.

The company said it had chosen German firm TGE as the preferred bidder to build a huge ethane tank at the site by 2016.

Ineos also announced two ageing plants at Grangemouth would close immediately, but added there would be no job losses.

The changes are part of a £300m "survival plan" launched by the company last year.

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