A massive petrochemical industry expansion will be one of the main consumers of ethane from natural gas and crude oil production for the rest of this decade and into the next.
North American petchem projects completed or in progress this decade are estimated to cost more than $100 billion, said Peter Fasullo, principal with En*Vantage, a petroleum industry consulting firm. The driver behind the growth is the availability of inexpensive ethane from shale plays. Ethane has always been available, but there have been few facilities to transport, process or consume the product until the opening of the first ethane export terminal in Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania in March 2016. Petrochemical firms have been investing heavily in plants to take advantage of this cheap feedstock.
New projects are proposed or under development along the Gulf Coast where the U.S. has a large refining and petrochemical processing complex as well as in new regions such as the Marcellus/Utica Shale region, in the Bakken Shale and in Ontario and Alberta, Canada.
Railroads are likely to see increased shipments of resins and other derivatives from these plants.
Open this story to see our table of major ethane cracking plant projects and related derivatives plants. This table will be updated as fresh information becomes available. Please let us know if you have any comments or questions.
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