Posts from James Gibson

Monday, 12/01/2014

The ratio of Mont Belvieu ethane prices to the price of natural gas at the Henry Hub on a BTU equivalent basis has been below 100% since March.   That means ethane is worth more as gas than as liquid ethane, which was bad enough for ethane producers. But two weeks ago the bottom dropped out from under that ratio, and it now wallows below 80%.  At that level, every molecule of ethane being recovered would theoretically be worth far more selling it as gas anywhere in the U.S.   So have ethane production numbers been falling?  Nope.  Ethane production for the past four months reported by EIA has averaged an all-time high.  Ethane extraction economics are upside down but ethane production is increasing.  Today we examine the reasons why ethane is being extracted even when the economics don’t seem to make sense.