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Exports gain focus ahead of 'teething' in US ethylene, PE: LyondellBasell CEO FIPHARM(GROUP)CO.,LIMITED | 2017-03-29 13:48:44 | Reading:2529 The upcoming wave of ethylene and polyethylene expansions in the US will bring a period of difficulty to the industry, and exports have increasingly become part of the solution to ease the transition, LyondellBasell CEO Bob Patel said Tuesday. 

"Exports will play more prominently going forward," Patel said at World Petrochemical Conference 2017 by IHS Markit. 

Polyethylene capacity in North America could grow by 4.2 million mt/year in 2017, based on targets for several planned projects by a number of producers. 

Additionally, more than 5 million mt/year of ethylene capacity could come to the US Gulf Coast in 2017 with four new steam crackers slated to come online. 

LyondellBasell announced at the start of the year the completion of an expansion to its Channelview, Texas, steam cracker, bringing the capacity of that unit to 1.1 million mt/year. 

"There will certainly be some teething along the way until we get to the new normal," Patel said. 

US production will need to consider exports moving forward, he said. The infrastructure for exports are scalable and will grow, Patel said. 

Sunoco Logistics' Mariner East 1 pipeline in Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania, has a propane and ethane shipping capacity of 70,000 b/d. Enterprise Products Partners operates a 200,000 b/d ethane export terminal at Morgan's Point, Texas. 

Additionally, Enterprise Products has considered an ethylene export terminal for the Morgan's Point, Texas, facility that hosts the ethane export terminal. 

"Polyethylene is the most efficient way to move advantaged ethane," Patel said, citing the comparative ease and cost savings in shipping resin pellets as opposed to ethane or ethylene.


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