India's Reliance to ship ethane from the U.S. shale plays

India’s largest private company, Reliance Industries, is making another investment in the U.S. energy market.

The company plans to ship 1.5 million tons per year of ethane from its U.S. shale play joint ventures to feed ethane crackers in India.

The company did not name which shale plays will supply the ethane. It has two partnerships in the Marcellus Shale and another in the Eagle Ford Shale of Texas. It also did not name from which terminal it would ship the ethane. 

“Reliance’s investments in shale gas and its existing crackers portfolio in India are a natural fit for sourcing ethane from North America and shipping it to India to attain long term feedstock competitiveness,” the company said in a release.

Ethane is used to make ethylene, a component used in the manufacture of many items, including plastics and polyester fibers.

In Pennsylvania, Reliance bought a 40 percent stake in Atlas Energy’s Marcellus position for $1.7 billion in 2010. Later that year, Chevron acquired Moon-based Atlas, along with Reliance’s investment. Reliance also invested $392 million in Houston-based Carrizo Oil and Gas’ Marcellus operations.

In Texas, Reliance has a $1.15-billion partnership with Pioneer Natural Resources.

Reliance said it has struck storage and capacity agreements for liquefaction and export of ethane with an unnamed North American terminal, which is expected to begin operations in the second half of 2016.

The ethane will be shipped using six ethane carriers that are expected to be delivered at the end of 2016, in time for the start-up of the terminal, Reliance said.

Reliance said it also building a world-scale receiving and storage facility in India for liquefied ethane and pipeline to deliver ethane to the cracker facilities it plans to upgrade.

Stephanie Ritenbaugh: or 412-263-4910

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