US’ new ethane-based C2 capacity to hit 4m-6m t by ’20 - Nexant

16 May 2012 05:54  [Source: ICIS news]

KUALA LUMPUR (ICIS)--Between 4m-6m tonnes/year of ethane-based ethylene (C2) capacity will be on stream in the US by 2020, according to chemicals consultancy, Nexant ChemSystems.

The figure is lower than the 7.65m tonnes/year of additional ethane-based ethylene capacity, or 29% of total current US capacity, that is projected to be on stream as early as 2017 – when all confirmed and speculative cracker projects are added together.

“Not all of the proposed US capacity will happen before 2020 as it remains unclear as to what the total availability of ethane supply from shale gas will be,” said Lee Fagg, Bangkok-based consultant with Nexant, on Wednesday.

“Furthermore the current attractiveness in US ethane pricing is due to a supply surplus that exists today,” added Fagg.

“However, if all the proposed projects go ahead the ethane market would change considerably, the sustainability of current US competitiveness would become less certain as domestic ethane prices would increase,” he said.

“And because of the nature of shale gas extraction, it is very hard to accurately predict long-term ethane availability. You need to sink lots of wells in each shale-gas field. This makes it very hard to forecast the exact percentages of methane versus natural-gas liquids that will be produced by each of the fields.”

By: John Richardson
+65 6780 4359

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