SAN ANTONIO (ICIS)--US ethane supply is improving and is likely to be sufficient for existing petrochemical operations and the new crackers expected to start up in 2019, a senior executive from Chevron Phillips Chemical said on Sunday.
“With the Enterprise Shin Oak pipeline, we’re seeing higher ethane content in raw mix streams we’re collecting. The odds are that there will be sufficient ethane to keep the system balanced,” said Ron Corn, senior vice president of petrochemicals for Chevron Phillips Chemical.
Corn spoke to ICIS on the sidelines of this year’s International Petrochemical Conference (IPC).
Midstream company Enterprise Products Partners put its Shin Oak natural gas liquids (NGL) pipeline from Orla, Texas, to the NGL fractionation hub of Mont Belvieu, Texas, in February.
And Targa Resources plans to put its Grand Prix pipeline from the Permian Basin and Midcontinent region to Mont Belvieu into operation in the third quarter of 2019, while starting up new fractionation capacity in the second quarter.
The Enterprise pipeline is already having a material impact on ethane supply, as the average ethane content of the NGL mix has risen from the mid-30% range to above 40%, said Corn.
This means less ethane is being rejected, he noted.
“At least the transportation constraint has been relieved. Most fractionators can run at 45% ethane so it has filled out the existing pipeline capacity. We saw higher levels of ethane rapidly,” said Corn.
Hosted by the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), the IPC takes place on 24-26 March in San Antonio, Texas.
Interview article by Joseph Chang