Volatility continues in NGL, downstream petrochemicals markets after fire at Enterprise Products

21-Feb-11
Price volatility continues in the NGL and downstream petrochemical markets after an explosion that occurred on February 8 forced a shutdown at Enterprise Product Partners' Mont Belvieu West Storage facility, as per Platts. The West Storage facility contained approximately 16 mln barrels of product, access to which has been cut off, and an indefinite force majeure has been put in place. Logistical problems remain the largest bottleneck. NGL consumers, mainly petrochemical plants, said that because the storage site is off-limits, they had adjusted feedstock levels to consume heavier, but pricier, gas liquids, such as propane, butane and naphtha. As a result of that shift, ethylene and propylene markets experienced marked -- though opposite -- shifts in price movements in the week following the fire. US spot ethylene hit a 39-week high on February 18, with February ethylene as wassessed at 53.75 cents/lb. Spot refinery-grade propylene hit a roughly seven-week low, assessed at 63 cents/lb MtB pipe on February 18.
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