New market for U.S. shale gas opens in Europe

|By:, SA News Editor

In a milestone marking the opening of a new market for U.S. energy producers trying to sell natural gas, Swiss petrochemicals company Ineos today accepts the first seaborne shipment of U.S. liquefied ethane to Europe, WSJ reports, in another sign of how the North American shale boom has transformed the global energy map.

The ethane was extracted from the Marcellus shale in Pennsylvania, where companies have been looking to diversify their markets for their ethane because of pipeline and storage limitations; unlike crude oil and gas, ethane is not restricted for export from the U.S., but a lack of transportation options has limited exports.

Ineos’ shipments from the U.S. are underpinned by a 15-year contract with Range Resources (RRC +0.2%) and Consol Energy (CNX +2.9%), both active drillers in the Marcellus Shale who are struggling as declining energy prices have cut their revenue and share prices in recent years.

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