|JS INEOS Intrepid Dragon Class|
Saturday, July 22, 2017
Sunoco Mariner East Pipeline gas is for export on "Dragon Ship" LNG tankers
The Mariner East Pipeline will have shale gas destined for Europe and Asia flowing through it.
It will be condensed and pumped into liquid natural gas supertankers at Marcus Hook, PA. for export to Europe and Asia.
"On a clear but windy day last July in Qidong, China—about 40 miles outside of Shanghai—a crowd of dignitaries, innovators, business men and women, big thinkers and well-wishers gathered near the water. They were there for a naming ceremony that would also serve as both a culmination and a kick-off.
The culmination was the result of more than a billion dollars and 4 million man hours—the results of which were docked in front of the crowd, two massive new ships that are literally in a class all their own: Dragon Class, a new designation for an entirely new design and a brand new undertaking.
That undertaking is the kickoff the crowd also was there to celebrate, because as the ships set sail—first to South Korea, and later to Marcus Hook, Pa., just outside of Philadelphia—a new era in shale gas will have begun. It’s a story that is emblazoned on the side of each ship in giant letters, the first one reading “Shale Gas for Manufacturing,” the second reading “Shale Gas for Chemicals.” And like the pioneering of the Marcellus in 2004, it’s a story that can’t be told without Range Resources.
‘A great day’
Chad Stephens, Range’s senior vice President of corporate development, was in Qidong for the celebration. “It was a great day, and a big international affair. And I have to tell you, when I got off the bus and actually saw the two ships nose to nose at the dock, I thought ‘man, these guys know what they’re doing.’ It was a thrilling day and very gratifying given the amount of general market skepticism when we first announced the project,” Stephens said.
An understandable reaction, as Stephens had been part of the team that worked diligently, for years, to put together a deal that would ultimately result in a unique partnership between Range Resources, MarkWest Energy Partners LP, Sunoco Logistics Partners LP and INEOS, a European chemical company. Today, INEOS is a global manufacturer of petrochemicals, specialty chemicals and oil products, with sales of approximately $54 billion. But in the early days of negotiations with Range, it was less well known than some of the other international chemical giants.
Curtis Tipton, Range’s vice president of Marcellus development, was also part of the team that worked on the deal. “To understand how the INEOS deal came together, you have to go back several years to the point where we realized we had what came to be referred to as ‘the ethane issue.’ We recognized our acreage in Washington County, Pa., was going to be wet. And that gas would need to be processed."
Fortunately, as Tipton explained, “We had some time to solve this problem, a problem that became an opportunity.”
First, there were major hurdles that had to be cleared. One of the biggest was doubt about the Marcellus. “We had to convince folks that the Marcellus was a serious play, and our ethane was a contender,” Tipton said. “The team made a lot of calls, and a lot of people told us we were nuts. They don’t think so now.”...
When the plan was first announced in 2012, U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) said, “I’m pleased to see Pennsylvania take a leading role in securing our domestic energy future. Connecting Delaware County to Western Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale development will help support good-paying jobs in our commonwealth. [This] announcement is an important step in ensuring America’s energy independence and expanding its role as a global energy exporter.”...
“We also had to do a thorough rundown on all of our options for moving ethane,' he continued. 'Can you rail it? Ultimately, that answer was no. Can you barge it? That turned out to not be a great option either. The best way to move ethane is by pipeline.”