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Enterprise mulls adding ethylene export capabilities to ethane terminal

HOUSTON, October 6, 2016 (PCW) – Enterprise Product Partners is looking at adding ethylene export capabilities to its new ethane export terminal at Morgan’s Point.

When ethylene exports was first mooted by Enterprise, chatter surrounded a standalone terminal along the Houston Ship Channel.

On Thursday, however, Enterprise said it was looking to add independent ethylene capabilities at the 200,000 b/d ethane export terminal, which only went into service in September.

Should the company ink sufficient offtake agreements, it could begin have ethylene export facilities up and running within 24 months of the project’s official announcement.

Additional infrastructure required to ensure ethylene supplies could flow from EPD’s Mont Belvieu facilities to Morgan’s Point would include a dedicated pipeline running from the hub to the export terminal.

EPD has said it continues to speak to several interested parties regarding five-year ethylene export contracts, but it has yet to announce any definitive agreement.

Two ethane cargoes have so far been lifted from Morgan’s Point, both bound for Europe. Given the narrowing arbs between European and Asian naphtha and US ethane, the price advantage for US ethane exports has whittled away significantly, giving rise to expectations of lower utilization rates at ethane export terminals going forward.

However, the ethylene market is expected to deal with some short-term length given the six to 12-month lag time between the start-up of the new wave of ethane crackers and the derivatives units that will ultimately consume the feedstock. Rising Asian ethylene demand is also expected to drive some of these exports in the next few years.

Indeed, Navigator Gas has exported about 100,000 mt (220 million lbs) of ethylene so far this year out of the Targa ethylene terminal on the Gulf Coast. All of the cargoes have gone to Asia. -- Sanmabtha Hartke

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