July 2012

Special Report: 90 Years of Progress in the HPI

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.

DuBose, Ben, Hydrocarbon Processing Staff

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 today’s HPI, the ability to crack gas-derived ethane makes all the difference—especially 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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