By Casey Junkins
WHEELING – A new study estimates United States ethane yields will more than double over the next decade, with a large amount of the increase attributed to Marcellus and Utica shale production.
“While domestic ethane demand will rise by about 0.8 million barrels per day to 1.8 million barrels per day in 2024, production will grow much faster,” Jennifer Van Dinter, an analyst for Bentek Energy, said regarding her company’s report that shows production of the petrochemical will reach 2.5 million barrels per day by 2024.
“This dynamic will dramatically change the local and global nature of the ethane market, similar to what we’ve seen with surging North American oil and natural gas production,” she added, noting ethane exports would be “imminent” because of the supply glut.
The new estimates come as West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin meets with Odebrecht officials in Brazil regarding the company’s plans to build a $5 billion petrochemical plant in Wood County. Tomblin and Odebrecht announced intentions to build the Wood County project in November 2013.