While assessing the costs of a gas separation plant needed for a new Scandinavian gas pipeline, British chemicals group Ineos has reconfirmed its commitment to expand ethylene output at Rafnes in Norway. Ineos gained ownership of the petrochemicals business at Rafnes on acquisition of Norsk Hydro's polymers business in 2007, the deal for which was concluded in early 2008.
The planned Skanled pipeline, set to pump up to 25 million cubic metres of gas per day from 2012, would bring North Sea gas and ethane to Rafnes, where a separation plant would be built to siphon off the ethane for Ineos' cracker and send the natural gas on to Sweden, Denmark and possibly eastern Europe. Russia's row over gas deliveries with Ukraine has cut supplies to other European countries in past days and reignited fears over energy security. Norway is the second largest supplier of natural gas to the European Union after Russia. It could feed gas into the Danish system or be extended across the Baltic Sea to central Europe, depending on Russian energy and is seeking to diversify supplies away from Moscow.