US Steam cracker operator margins spike on stronger ethylene

31-Aug-10
Steam cracker operators in the US saw strong gains in margins from light feeds as ethylene prices surged early this week, as per Platts. Spot ethylene gained over a penny/lb on Monday and over 2.5 cents/lb on Tuesday on the back of stronger ethane and increased buy interest following an unplanned outage at Shell's OP-2 steam cracker at Deer Park, Texas. Given spot ethylene was assessed Thursday at 41.50 cents/lb and ethane at 48.75 cents/gallon, profits from E/P mix gained roughly 3.50 cents to reach 20.93 cents/b while ethane margins were up a similar amount to close the week at 17.97 cents/lb. Margins from propane and butane were at 3.26 cents/lb and minus 5.83 cents/lb, respectively.
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