Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s chemicals giant is to supply Europe with American liquified natural gas (LNG) as concerns mount over supplies following EU sanctions on Russia.
Ineos said the two-decade agreement with California-based Sempra Infrastructure will allow it to import as much as 1.4 million tonnes of LNG per year.
The company then plans to trade the gas on European markets, while using some to meet its own industrial needs.
It marks Ineos’s first foray into the LNG market and comes amid fears that Russian president Vladimir Putin could cut off gas supplies to the Continent next winter, owing to tensions over Ukraine. Ineos said Wednesday’s agreement would help to provide “much needed security of supply” at a “critical time for energy markets”.
David Bucknall, chief executive of Ineos Energy, said: “This is an important part of our strategy as we build a network of liquefaction, shipping, and regasification capacity to deliver affordable, cleaner and reliable energy to our businesses and customers in Europe and around the world.”
Sempra said the deal was a boost to its plans to supply American LNG to some of the world’s leading energy and manufacturing companies.
Ineos is one of Europe’s biggest consumers of natural gas.
However, many EU countries and businesses are scrambling to find alternatives to Russian supplies, which currently account for about 40pc of the bloc’s total.
It is seen as a major opportunity for American LNG companies, which have been urged by US President Joe Biden to ramp up production and send extra shipments across the Atlantic. Ineos said its LNG deal covers supplies from a proposed project in Port Arthur, southeast Texas, and another scheme in Cameron, Louisiana.
The company said it was a “first mover” among major European businesses to secure a direct supply of gas for itself and customers.
“Ineos intends to build partnerships with other industrial users of energy in Europe to help them access the same competitive sources of energy,” the company added.