The extended duration of the Gulf Coast outages in the wake of Hurricane Laura saw steam cracking margins on ethane hitting a ytd high in late October.
This is sure to have prompted operational plants to raise utilisation over that period.
Even though steam cracking margins rose even further at the turn of the year, we suspect that operational hiccups, a slight uptick in maintenance, and some export bottlenecks at major ethylene export terminals are likely to have capped the extent to which players were able to capitalise on strong margins.
Research Highlights - Week 5
US ethane demand set another record in November, increasing by 310,000 b/d y-o-y (+20% y-o-y, see chart). It topped July’s high by some 30,000 b/d, but the pace of growth has now likely slowed relative to October-November (see Americas Weekly – Issue 05).