Ethane as a feedstock to remain viable option in foreseeable future

06 March 2012 21:26  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--With increasing costs for using naphtha as a feedstock over the past 10 years, the shift to using ethane feedstock for cracking has become a more favourable option, officials said on Tuesday.

“The new North American advantage is ethane. We believe this trend is sustainable and ethane feedstocks will be very competitive,” said John Fotheringham, general manager of Celanese's advanced fuels technologies businesss, during a panel discussion at the IHS CERAWeek energy conference in Houston.

Fotheringham said ethylene made from ethane has become a more cost effective option since 2008 because it is affordable and abundant.

Donald Condon, senior vice president, olefins and corporate business development of Westlake Chemical, said, “Ethane production will outpace what forecasts say

“In the near term, there will be a lot of supplies. The real issue is infrastructure, and a place to put ethane.”

According to Condon, feedstock trends change over time. Most companies that are expanding through building new crackers are allowing for feedstock flexibility. However, using naphtha as a feedstock could become the more attractive option in the future.

“If oil demand and prices change, then naphtha demand and prices could change,” said Condon.

By: Anna Matherne

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