5 Feb 2021 Featured in: Americas Weekly - Issue 5

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).

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  • 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.