US Steam cracker operator margins spike on stronger ethylene

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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