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Regular shipment of US ethane to Borealis Europe delayed by nine months: CEO

London — The schedule for regular shipments of ethane from the US to Borealis' crackers in Europe has been delayed nine months, company CEO Mark Garrett said in an interview Wednesday.

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The company was originally expected to receive its first shipment at the end of 2016.

The delay is on the supplier's end and it will not adversely impact Borealis' European operations, Garrett said.

Borealis plans to import 240,000 mt/year of US ethane for its crackers in Europe, taking advantage of a supply source created by the US' shale gas revolution.

Article Continues below...

In August 2014, Borealis signed a 10-year deal to buy ethane from US company Antero Resources for cracking in its European crackers. The gas would be sourced from the Marcellus and Utica shale formations.

Antero said at the time that the deal was related to a 10-year transportation, terminal and storage agreement it had inked with Sunoco Logistics Partners that would allow it to ship ethane, propane and butane via the Mariner East II pipeline project to Sunoco's Marcus Hook terminal in Pennsylvania. Sunoco's current timeline for Mariner East II targets operation starting fist-half 2017, according to the company's website.

Efforts to get comment Wednesday from Antero were unsuccessful.

Borealis' 625,000 mt/year ethylene capacity cracker in Stenungsund, Sweden, and 400,000 mt/year cracker in Porvoo, Finland, are both able to process a mix of feedstocks including liquids, LPG and ethane.

The company has signed a shipping agreement with Navigator Holdings, a liquefied gas logistics company, to transport ethane from Marcus Hook to Sweden.

A 35,000 cubic meter capacity ethane vessel dedicated to shipping in feedstock for Borealis has been named Navigator Aurora by Navigator Gas and Borealis. The vessel is currently in commissioning and Borealis will look for other sources of shipments of ethane and LPG from the US in the vessel before regular shipments begin, Garrett said.

Meanwhile, Borealis' plans to upgrade its Porvoo cracker are proceeding as scheduled, Garrett said.

In June this year, Borealis announced that it would upgrade the cracker to enhance its energy efficiency, yield higher production capacities for propylene and crude C4, and enable an overall higher quality of propylene.

After the upgrade, expected to cost Eur40 million ($45 million), the production capacity of propylene and crude C4 from the cracker will increase by 30,000 mt/year and 10,000 mt/year, respectively, Borealis said in a previous statement.

The company currently has a capacity to produce 230,000 mt/year of propylene from the cracker. The company declined to disclose its CC4 capacity.

The Porvoo project is scheduled for completion in the third quarter of 2017.

--Shashank Shekhar,

--Edited by Lisa Miller,