January 2015

Special Report: LNG, NGL and Alternative Feedstocks

Shale gas drives new opportunities for US downstream

This shift to lighter feeds for the SC will reduce the future availability of other petrochemical feedstocks—in particular, propylene.

Maller, A., Dharia, D., Gbordzoe, E., Technip Stone & Webster Process Technology; Lambert, N., Axens

The refining and petrochemical industries are facing a variety of opportunities and challenges due to the rise of shale gas. The availability of low-cost light feedstocks has provided a strong incentive for petrochemical companies to process ethane in steam crackers (SCs) to produce ethylene. This trend is expected to continue over the next decade, especially in the US. However, this shift to lighter feeds for the SC will reduce the future availability of other petrochemical feedstocks—in particular, propylene. Historically, propylene supply has been met primarily by steam cracking; however, when cracking ethane, limited quantities of propylene are produced. Coupled with the anticipate

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