US ETHANE OUTLOOK—1: Increased US ethane capacity puts processors at greater risk

Over the past 2 years, En*Vantage has been warning US gas processors that the rapid expansion of processing capacity will create a surplus of ethane extraction capacity.The main concern then and now is that US gas processors are incurring more economic risks by increasing their leverage to ethane, unless ethane demand increases. Yet, our analysis indicates that the US petrochemical industry is not planning to expand ethylene capacity.Additionally, existing ethylene plants are limited in consuming or cracking substantially more ethane because adequate ethane pipeline capacity to a number of ethylene facilities is lacking, and some heavy-feedstock plants need to be retooled to crack mor...

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