Parkersburg News and Sentinel: Report highlights need for ethane hub

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Washington, December 9, 2018 | comments
A federal report issued this week cites the economic potential from additional ethane hubs in the United States. Natural gas processing capacity has expanded more than 10-fold from 2010 to 2016 in Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia where the boom in crude oil and natural gas production from shale formations across the U.S. and in the Marcellus and Utica shales “has transformed global energy markets and may present opportunities for industry to establish additional hubs,” according to Ethane Storage and Distribution Hub in the United States, a report to Congress by the U.S. Department of Energy.
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A federal report issued this week cites the economic potential from additional ethane hubs in the United States.

Natural gas processing capacity has expanded more than 10-fold from 2010 to 2016 in Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia where the boom in crude oil and natural gas production from shale formations across the U.S. and in the Marcellus and Utica shales “has transformed global energy markets and may present opportunities for industry to establish additional hubs,” according to Ethane Storage and Distribution Hub in the United States, a report to Congress by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Natural gas plant liquids, especially ethane, are used in the production of plastics and other compounds.

“The large increase in (natural gas liquids) will come from the Marcellus and Utica plays production in the East and from the Permian basin in the Southwest over the next 10 years,” the report said.

“This growth is explained mainly by the close association between the production of (natural gas production liquids) and the development of natural gas and crude oil resources in those regions.”

The report, released on Tuesday, details the potential for a petrochemical hub located in the Appalachian region and emphasizes benefits for the economy in America that an ethane hub would have.

“This report affirms what we have been talking about for years,” U.S. Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., said. “Natural gas production in the region has grown by leaps and bounds over the past decade. The next logical step is to take full advantage of this resource and develop a petrochemical industry in the region.”

The report points out 95 percent of the country’s petrochemical industries are located on the Gulf Coast in Texas and Louisiana where production could be disrupted by hurricanes.

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“It is in the national interest to diversify and build a secondary hub in West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Kentucky,” he said.

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“West Virginia and surrounding states are poised to become a leader in petrochemicals and manufacturing, but we need to build the necessary infrastructure to make it work,” McKinley said. 

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