Surging ethane supplies prompt export plans

Surging ethane extraction capability in US shale plays has given it a price advantage relative to naphtha and made it a viable export commodity. According to Peter Fasullo of En*Vantage Inc., Houston, US ethane extraction capacity has increased 69% since 2006 to 1.23 million b/d, and he projects it to reach 2.2 million b/d by 2020. Ethane rejection, however, continued at 250,000-350,000 b/d, led by Appalachia, where 87% of the ethane capable of being recovered was being rejected as of January due to transportation contraints.1 RBN Energy forecasts ethane exports to reach 150,000-200,000 b/d in the next 5-6 years, with four or five European crackers shifting some capacity from naphtha to e...

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