Ethane, the preferred feedstock for the ethylene industry, rose by almost 1 cent per gallon (gal) at Mont Belvieu, Texas, in the past week to approach its high for the year.

Rising natural gas prices resulted in a margin that tightened by 6.4% in the last week at Mont Belvieu, but ethane’s margin widened by almost 42% at Conway, Kan.

The U.S. ethylene industry is operating at 96% capacity, En*Vantage said in a recent report, and ethane cracking levels are up to about 1.26 million barrels per day (MMbbl/d) with more facilities soon to, well, get cracking.