AFPM ’13: Ethane export terminal possible for US Gulf Coast

25 March 2013 18:03  [Source: ICIS news]

SAN ANTONIO, Texas (ICIS)--An ethane export terminal could be built on the US Gulf Coast within a couple of years to help stimulate ethane consumption from wet shale gas plays, En*Vantage principal Peter Fasullo said on Monday.

The tremendous amount of infrastructure being built to transport ethane to the Gulf Coast could produce an excess of ethane supply in the area until five large new US gas crackers come on-stream, he said.

There is the possibility that ethane could be exported from a new Gulf Coast ethane terminal to supply chemical producers in Asia , through the widened Panama Canal, or in Europe, he added.

He was speaking at the 38th American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) International Petrochemical meeting (IPC).

Investment and consulting firm En*Vantage expects ethane consumption by US crackers to rise from 1.1m bbl/day currently to 1.9m bbl/day in 2018. If five new Gulf Coast crackers come on-stream as planned in the 2018 timeframe, ethane demand could be pushed to 2m bbl/day assuming some ethane exports.

Ethane extraction is really a demand led business, Fasullo said, so assured demand from crackers particularly will stimulate pipeline and other infrastructure development and more wet gas extraction.

After 2017 a lot more ethane will have to be transported from the Marcellus shale deposit in the US north east, to the Gulf Coast, Fasullo said. And a jump in supply is likely to stimulate interest in exporting ethane.

Up to 190,000 bbl/day of ethane will be supplied to customers on the US Gulf Coast through the 1,230-mile, Appalachia to Texas (ATEX) pipeline being constructed by Enterprise Products by the first quarter of 2014.

“Marcellus and Utica will be major swing suppliers of ethane and full extraction will be needed to support [the] world-scale ethane crackers,” Fasulo said. The Uitca shale deposit is also in the US north east.

“Reserves for liquids are growing faster than production,” he added. “We have a vast source of liquids and gas.”

The IPC takes place through Tuesday in San Antonio.

By: Nigel Davis
+44 20 8652 3214

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