Benchmark oil, gas prices poised for divorce
In the global HPI, changing market dynamics are putting a premium on petrochemical and refining units that can crack ethane.
The trickle-down effect of baseline oil and gas prices has an enormous impact on the hydrocarbon processing industry (HPI). The economically-advantaged feedstocks of a given era are among the primary factors to decide which sectors thrive and which feel the pain.
In todays HPI, the ability to crack gas-derived ethane makes all the differenceespecially in the US. Shale gas discoveries have nudged natural gas prices as low as $2/MMBtu by virtue of making supply abundant (Fig. 1).
Fig. 1. Shale gas drilling has rapidly increased in many US locations, such as this one in Wyoming.
This, in turn, makes ethane-based petrochemical projects an eco
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