In its latest ‘Short-Term Energy Outlook’ (STEO), the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) has forecast that US production of ethylene will increase to an average of 1.7 million bpd in 2018 compared to 1.25 million bpd last year.
The EIA expects the increased ethane production to be consumed in the domestic petrochemical industry and exported to other countries. This should lead to higher ethane prices relative to natural gas prices, which will encourage increased ethane recovery from raw natural gas.
Ethane is used almost exclusively as a petrochemical feedstock to produce ethylene, a compound used in the creation of many plastics. By mid-2018, construction is expected to be completed at six new ethylene plants and one restarted plant, collectively capable of using 450 000 bpd of ethane feedstock. Most of these plants are designed specifically to use ethane without the ability to switch to other feedstocks. As these plants ramp up operations, the EIA expects US ethane consumption to increase by 26% up to 310 000 bpd between 1Q13 and 4Q18.
The first ethane export terminal in the US, located at Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania, shipped its first ethane cargo in March 2016. A second export terminal in Morgan’s Point, Texas (with a capacity of 200 000 bpd), shipped its first ethane cargo in September 2016.
Read the article online at: https://www.hydrocarbonengineering.com/petrochemicals/18012017/eia-us-ethylene-production-to-rise/