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USGC ethylene exports pick up amid stronger Asia pricing

June 30/2020

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Ethylene exports from the US Gulf Coast (USGC) are recovering from their recent trough as ethylene prices in Asia and Europe show signs of strength, said Chemweek.

Enterprise Products Partners' new joint-venture ethylene export facility with Navigator Gas has sent out its first cargo since the start of April, headed for Europe. PetroChem Wire data show total ethylene exports from the two facilities in Houston dipped to 23,000 metric tons (mt) during April, compared with 44,000 mt in March.

Volumes are poised to recover respectively to 27,000 mt and 42,500 mt during May and June, based on preliminary PetroChem Wire vessel tracking. The Enterprise facility accounts for almost all of the increased volumes, these data show. Shipbroker fixture reports corroborate an uptick in cargo activity as well.

The US Gulf Coast is awash with ethylene supply despite reduced operating rates at many steam crackers. While some companies have disclosed operating rates as low as 70Ц80%, overall Gulf Coast cracker utilization is estimated around 85% at present.

US ethylene has had the lowest price in the world for many months. Ethylene prices in those two markets are also in recovery mode.

The cavern in Mont Belvieu, 20 miles northeast of Morgan's Point, has a capacity of 600 million lbs. Enterprise has designed the system "to serve as an open market storage and trading hub for the ethylene industry through storage, connections to multiple ethylene pipelines and high-capacity export capabilities," according to a previous announcement.

A Europe-headquartered chemical producer is believed to have a term agreement at the new terminal, lifting one cargo per month.

Ethylene and propylene are feedstocks for producing polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP).

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PE consumption totalled 721,290 tonnes in the first four month of 2020, up by 4% year on year. Low density polyethylene (LDPE) and linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) shipments grew partially because of the increased capacity utilisation at ZapSibNeftekhim.  At the same time, PP shipments to the Russian market totalled 347,440 tonnes in January-April 2020 (calculated by the formula production minus export plus import). Supply exclusively of PP random copolymer increased.
Author:Anna Larionova
Tags:PP, PE, ethylene, propylene.
Category:General News
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