The spike in Henry Hub’s price helped ethane return to its happy place above 27 cents per gallon (gal) at Mont Belvieu, Texas, in the past week.
Credit persistent cold weather for cutting into natural gas storage, and the higher price of natural gas for encouraging what was likely a higher rate of ethane rejection, En*Vantage said. The margin narrowed at Mont Belvieu to under 6 cents/gal. Ethane is still the preferred feedstock for ethylene, En*Vantage said, but propane and normal butane are experiencing improved economics as heavier propylene feedstocks.
An LPG tanker departed Houston earlier this month and delivered a shipment of ethane to the Port of Pajaritos, Mexico. Platts reported that ethane production in Mexico could decline as much as 20% to an average of 80,000 barrels a day in 2018, according to a Pemex internal analysis. The shipment, En*Vantage said, is a trial cargo.