US industrial gas use seen up 19% by 2020

New projects will boost industrial use of natural gas in the US during 2012-20 by 19%, according to the Center for Energy Economics (CEE), part of the Bureau of Economic Geology at the University of Texas at Austin.

CEE analyzed a database of 144 projects completed, in progress, or planned during 2013-20 in gas-intensive industries.

In its reference-case projection, 103 projects representing total investment of $83 billion increase industrial gas consumption to 23.5 bcfd in 2020 from a base demand level of 19.8 bcfd in 2012.

A high case includes all 144 projects, which pushes industrial gas use in 2020 to 26 bcfd. Investment in the high case totals $121 billion.

CEE’s reference case, which excludes projects that haven’t progressed beyond planning into front-end engineering and design or permitting, includes 14 ethylene plants representing investment of $26 billion, 22 methanol and ammonia plants ($18 billion), and five GTL projects ($14.7 billion). Other project types in the CEE analysis are chlor-alkali, polyethylene, propylene, metals, and manufacturing.

The ethylene plants in the reference case have capacities totaling 9.3 million tonnes/year. Five of them are new facilities due online by 2017 with total capacity of 6.2 million tpy. Nine are plant expansions due online by 2015.

The six methanol plants in CEE’s reference case have capacities totaling 5.9 million tpy. The projects include three new plants, two relocations, and one restart. All are completed or in progress and due online by 2016.

Sixteen ammonia, urea, and fertilizer plants—10 new facilities, five expansions, and one relocation—have total capacity of 13.6 million tpy.

All five GTL projects in the reference case are in FEED or permitting stages, representing total capacity of 103,300 b/d of liquids.

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