Petrochemical Operations: Ethylene must compete with electricity for natural gas resources

Increased competition between the ethylene and electricity markets for natural gas is one reason North American natural gas prices will remain higher than in the recent past.Although current cash prices have dropped to less than $3/MMbtu at the Henry Hub, the 2001 year-to-date average price is $5.37/MMbtu. This price is 24% higher than the 2000 average and nearly 60% higher than the 1995-99 average.For the first time, electricity generation is leading the industrial market as the primary consumer of natural gas in the US. The growth of its share in this market will accelerate at least through the start-up cycle of the current wave of new power-generation capacity, expected to come online ...

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