March 2016, Vol. 243, No. 3

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Ethane Production Expected to Increase as Petrochemical Consumption and Exports Expand

Ethane production is expected to increase from 1.1 million barrels per day (b/d) in 2015 to 1.4 million b/d in 2017, accounting for two-thirds of total U.S. hydrocarbon gas liquid (HGL) production growth. Ethane, a key feedstock for petrochemical manufacturing, is recovered from raw natural gas at natural gas processing plants. Over the past five or six years, the amount of ethane contained in domestically produced raw natural gas has exceeded the capacity to consume and export it. This oversupply kept ethane prices relatively low, hovering at or below the price of natural gas, leading producers to reject the ethane stream by leaving it mixed with the stream that is marketed as pipeline nat

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