US ethane supply gains seen trailing demand growth

  • : LPG, Petrochemicals
  • 24/05/23

Export and domestic demand growth for US ethane is expected to outpace US supply growth by as much as 72,000 b/d by 2026, according to a recent forecast from consultancy East Daley Analytics.

A surplus of US ethane production, bolstered by gains in natural gas drilling and production to meet growing demand for electricity generation and LNG exports, has led to increasing investments in additional ethane export terminal capacity to provide other outlets for the petrochemical feedstock.

The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) showed US ethane production from natural gas processing rose to a record 2.78mn b/d in October of 2023 and fell to 2.69mn b/d in February, the latest data the agency has available. Those volumes don't take into account ethane that is rejected into the gas stream at processing plants during periods of restrained capacity or when natural gas prices spike on weather-related outages, incentivizing lower ethane recovery.

Mont Belvieu, Texas, EPC ethane's premium relative to its natural gas fuel value at Waha reached a peak of 50.31¢/USG on 6 May, a 16-month high, and has averaged 26.08¢/USG in May so far, according to Argus data. As ethane margins versus natural gas rise, ethane extraction at natural gas processing plants becomes even more profitable, pushing ethane recovery rates higher.

Yet East Daley's forecasts suggest projects to absorb this additional feedstock may quickly outpace production.

The consultancy projects US ethane production will rise by 283,000 b/d by 2026, driven mostly by gains in natural gas production in the Permian and Marcellus basins.

Increased gas takeaway capacity from the completion of maintenance on Kinder Morgan's Permian Highway pipeline (PHP), the Gulf Coast Express (GCX) pipeline, and the Transwestern pipeline at the end of this month, will allow for higher levels of ethane rejection, according to Rob Wilson, East Daley's vice president of analytics, limiting potential gains in ethane production from the additional gas.

Further gas capacity restrictions in the Permian are expected to be mitigated when the 2.5 Bcf/d Matterhorn Express pipeline — which runs from the Waha, Texas, gas hub to Katy, Texas, on the Gulf coast — comes online in the third quarter of this year.

Domestic demand for ethane is projected to rise by 129,000 b/d by 2026 with the addition of Chevron Phillips Chemical's joint venture with QatarEnergy to construct a 2mn t/yr ethane cracker on the Texas Gulf coast that is scheduled to come online in 2026. That joint venture will consume 118,000 b/d of ethane when at full capacity, but will operate at 50pc of capacity when first on line in 2026, according to East Daley.

Increased US ethane cracking will come on top of a 231,000 b/d increase in ethane exports by 2026, driven by demand from Chinese crackers and burgeoning demand from Indian crackers, according to the consultancy. Ethane export expansions at Energy Transfer's Marcus Hook terminal in Pennsylvania and Enterprise Products Partners' new flexible LPG and ethane terminal at Beaumont, Texas, are expected to be complete by 2025 and 2026, respectively.

Combined, these projects add another 360,000 b/d of ethane demand by 2026, outstripping expected supply growth by an estimated 72,000 b/d, according to East Daley's forecast.

By Abby Downing-Beaver


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24/06/14

India implements e-PVC anti-dumping duties

India implements e-PVC anti-dumping duties

Singapore, 14 June (Argus) — India's central government has imposed additional anti-dumping duties (ADDs) on imports of paste polyvinyl chloride (e-PVC) from China, South Korea, Malaysia, Norway, Taiwan, and Thailand from 13 June. The implementation comes after Indian authorities concluded investigations on 26 April which found that imports were purchased at dumped prices from these countries. Authorities also noted there was a substantial increase in imports from these countries and concluded that the domestic industry was affected negatively because of this. But the authorities also incorporated exclusions to the ADDs. These were on PVC resins with a K-value below 60K, PVC blending resins, co-polymers of PVC paste resin, battery separator resins and the brand name "Biovyn" produced by European PVC producer Innovyn. The announcement of the ADDs comes at a time when regional freight challenges have been a significant concern for Indian importers. Limited container availability has resulted in South Korean producers Hanwha Solutions and LG Chem postponing shipments of cargoes that were purchased by Indian buyers for arrival in June and early July. The producers sent letters to their customers informing them of the freight challenges. Both producers indicated a raise in prices for shipments, with LG Chem indicating a rise in PVC prices by $100/t. Key Taiwanese PVC producer Formosa was forced to postpone the announcement of its offers for July shipment from this week to next week because of shipping uncertainties, according to market participants. With the lack of imports, Indian producers this week raised domestic prices of suspension-PVC (s-PVC) by 4,000 rupees/t ($48/t) and e-PVC by Rs5,000/t. Offers of Chinese-origin cargoes have been limited, with some s-PVC offers at $930-950/t this week. Chinese producers are trying to circumvent freight difficulties by shipping PVC cargoes in jumbo bags in bulk vessels instead of containers. But acceptance by Indian buyers has been underwhelming, according to market participants. The ADDs will be enforced for a period of six months from 13 June and are payable in Indian rupees. By Matthew Rajendra India e-PVC ADD list $/t Country of Origin Country of export Producer Duty China Any Formosa Industries (Ningbo) Co., Ltd. 546 China Any Shenyang Chemical Co. Ltd 115 China Any Other Chinese producers except above 600 Any China Any 600 South Korea Any Hanwha Solutions Corporation 0 South Korea Any Other South Korean producers 41 Any South Koreaa Any 41 Malaysia Any Kaneka Paste Sdn. Bhd. 317 Malaysia Any Other Malaysian producers 375 Any Malaysia Any 375 Taiwan Any Formosa Plastics Corporation 118 Taiwan Any Other Taiwanese producers 168 Any Taiwan Any 168 Thailand Any TPC Paste Resin Co. Ltd. 195 Thailand Any Other Thai producers 252 Any Thailand Any 252 Norway Any Any 328 Any Norway Any 328 Data from India's Ministry of Finance Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

US Fed signals one rate cut this year


24/06/12
24/06/12

US Fed signals one rate cut this year

Houston, 12 June (Argus) — The US Federal Reserve kept its target interest rate unchanged at a 23-year high today while officials signaled they expect to make only one quarter-point rate cut later this year. The Fed board and policymakers, in their latest economic projections, expect the target rate range will end 2024 near a midpoint of 5.1pc, compared with the 4.6pc midpoint projected in March. That implies one quarter-point cut, down from three possible cuts penciled-in previously. "We do not expect it will be appropriate to reduce the target range for the federal funds rate until we have gained greater confidence that inflation is moving sustainably" towards the Fed goal of 2pc, Fed chairman Jerome Powell said after the meeting. "As the economy evolves, appropriate assessments of the policy path will adjust in order to best promote our maximum employment and price stability goals." The Fed's Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) held the federal funds target rate unchanged at 5.25-5.5pc. It was the sixth consecutive meeting in which the Fed held rates steady following 11 increases from March 2022 through July last year in the most aggressive hiking campaign in four decades. The decision to keep rates steady was widely expected. CME's FedWatch tool, which tracks fed funds futures trading, had assigned a 99pc probability to the Fed holding rates steady today. The FedWatch tool had earlier signaled two rate cuts later this year, but following a better-than-expected inflation report this morning, FedWatch is now indicating three possible rate cuts, beginning in September. The Fed's economic projections see core Personal Consumption Expenditures inflation, the Fed's favorite measure of inflation, ending 2024 at a median forecast of 2.8pc from a prior forecast for 2.6pc. Policymakers see inflation falling to a median 2.3pc next year. The outlook for the unemployment rate for the end of 2024 remained unchanged at 4pc. Policymakers expect gross domestic product (GDP) growth to end the year at 2.1pc, unchanged from prior projections. The latest policy meeting comes as the Consumer Price Index (CPI) eased to an annual 3.3pc in May , down from 3.4pc in April, the Labor Department reported earlier today. Inflation had ticked up to 3.5pc in March from 3.1pc in January, prompting the Fed to turn more cautious about beginning its rate cuts. US job growth has surprised to the upside and continues to top pre-Covid levels. GDP growth slowed to a 1.3pc annual rate in the first quarter, from 3.4pc in the fourth quarter of 2023. By Bob Willis Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

US inflation eases to 3.3pc in May as Fed meets


24/06/12
24/06/12

US inflation eases to 3.3pc in May as Fed meets

Houston, 12 June (Argus) — US consumer inflation eased slightly in May for a second month, a sign Federal Reserve rate hikes are having some success in reining in inflation pressures after a spurt of gains earlier this year. The consumer price index (CPI) slowed to an annual 3.3pc in May from 3.4pc in April, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. So-called core inflation, which strips out volatile food and energy prices, increased by 3.4pc over the past year, the lowest reading in three years, from 3.6pc through April. The energy index rose by an annual 3.7pc, compared to a 2.6pc rise in April, while the gasoline index rose by 2.2pc versus 1.2pc in April. Energy services rose by an annual 4.7pc. Headline inflation had ticked up from 3.1pc in January amid stronger than expected economic data, prompting the Federal Reserve to delay widely expected rate cuts as it pledged it needed to see more evidence of a "sustained" slowing in inflation. The inflation report, which came in slightly under economists' median forecasts, comes hours ahead of a Federal Reserve policy announcement today expected to reveal projections on whether Fed members still expect to begin cutting the target rate this year and by how much. Fed policymakers today are widely expected to keep their target rate unchanged. The Fed hiked its target rate to a 23-year high of 5.25-5.5pc in July 2023 and has kept it there since as it has battled to bring down inflation that hit a high of 9.1pc in June 2022. After the report, the CME's FedWatch tool signaled a 73pc probability that the Fed will cut its target rate in September from near 53pc odds Tuesday. CPI was unchanged from the prior month, the first flat monthly reading in two years, following a 0.3pc monthly gain in April and 0.4pc gains in the prior two months. Core CPI was up by 0.2pc for the month after a monthly gain of 0.3pc in April. The energy index fell 2pc in May on the month after rising 1.1pc the prior month. The food index rose by 0.1pc in May after being unchanged the prior month. By Bob Willis Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Ineos Styrolution to close Sarnia SM plant


24/06/11
24/06/11

Ineos Styrolution to close Sarnia SM plant

Houston, 11 June (Argus) — Global styrenics producer Ineos Styrolution plans to permanently close its430,000 metric tonne (t)/yr styrene monomer (SM) production site in Sarnia, Ontario, by June 2026. "The long-term prospects for the Sarnia site have worsened to the point that it is no longer an economically viable operating asset," Ineos Styrolution chief executive Steve Harrington said on Tuesday. The Sarnia site was shut down on 20 April to address issues related to benzene (BZ) emissions after the Canadian government issued a BZ emissions control order on 18 April. The company said it continues to assess what would be required to restart the plant, a process that will require about six months. Ineos said complying with the BZ emissions control order was unrelated to the decision to permanently close the plant. Ineos said it has made several investments to ensure safe and reliable operations and that additional large investments unrelated to plant startup were necessary for site operations moving forward, which the company considers economically impractical. Ineos declined to comment further. Sources close to the company said Ineos has been fulfilling Sarnia's customer orders with products from Texas units in Baytown and Texas City. By Jake Caldwell Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Brazil LPG usage review due in Nov


24/06/07
24/06/07

Brazil LPG usage review due in Nov

Sao Paulo, 7 June (Argus) — Brazil's 33-year-old restrictions on LPG usage are one step closer to ending as hydrocarbons regulator ANP plans to deliver a regulatory impact analysis (RIA) on changing the rules by 7 November or sooner. Ending the restrictions via a new regulation — which was discussed in a broadcast meeting of government agencies and industry groups in the lower house of congress this week — could increase Brazil's LPG demand by 5pc , according to LPG association Sindigas. ANP added the RIA to its agenda following pressure from many sides, including Sindigas, LPG distributors, industry and even an official request from ministry of mines and energy (MME). The government banned certain uses of LPG in 1991 when the first Gulf War led to a significant increase in fuel prices. At the time Brazil relied on imported LPG as a primary cooking fuel, which was heavily subsidized, so there was concern the war would lead to prolonged LPG shortages. The restrictions barred its use in automotive and other engines except for forklifts and industrial cleaning equipment. It is also illegal for saunas, boilers and pool heating, except for medicinal purposes. LPG for cooking is no longer subsidized by the government and prices are largely set on the open market, although 13kg cylinder prices are still influenced by state-controlled Petrobras. Although restrictions on LPG use were established by law, there is an understanding from the federal Attorney General's Office that just a resolution from ANP would be sufficient to allow other uses. The review of the LPG restrictions are part of the ANP mission to give Brazil freedom of choice on energy sources for different applications based on their availability and cost, eliminating market barriers, said Deivson Matos Timbó, general coordinator for market monitoring at the MME. Currently, LPG represents just 3.2pc of the national energy use — less than firewood and natural gas. "Once the market develops it will mitigate any concerns of supply and demand," said Pedro João Zahran Turqueto, distributor Copa Energia's vice president of operations and strategy. Congressman Beto Pereira, who organized the meetings this week, said LPG has the potential to be a power generation fuel in remote areas, as well as a backup fuel for intermittent renewable energy generation, with lower transportation and storage costs than liquid hydrocarbons. The meeting in the lower house included representatives from ANP, MME, Brazil's energy research company EPE, LPG distributor Copa Energia, LPG association Sindigás and the Federal University of Mato Grosso do Sul state (UFMS), located in the center-western region. By Betina Moura Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

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