Strategic Report - Global Ethylene Logistics Review: Ready to be Waterborne?

The emergence of the Shale Gas in the US has resulted in a rapid increase in the availability of LPG and ethane. Rapid increases in US LPG and ethane supply has outpaced growth in domestic end uses, leading increased exports. Is ethylene ready to be waterborne?

Most of the potential for exporting ethane, ethylene and other liquefied gases involves waterborne shipments to markets overseas.

The pressure from rising ethane supply availability is contributing to lower US prices, making US exports to foreign markets competitive with local supplies. SABIC, Borealis, INEOS, Versalis and Reliance are planning to export ethane from the US to Europe and India.

Low US feedstock prices has also enabled domestically-produced chemical derivatives and intermediate products, such as ethylene, to be competitive in foreign markets. Notably, North America has become source of the world’s most competitive ethylene, after the Middle East.

As a consequence, demand for US marine export terminal capacity and vessel capacity has been increasing, and IHS expects this trend to continue to drive investment in infrastructure both in the US and abroad.

Investments in infrastructure and vessels to export US ethane both for fuel and feedstock are already underway, and interest in the viability of ethylene exports is increasing.

This study provides a comprehensive view of global ethylene logistics and the associated economics, to help companies understand the options available for moving the monomer. This report details all pipelines, terminals and ports currently available worldwide for ethylene movement. It identifies potential markets for ethylene exports and calculates the economics for moving ethylene from the US and the Middle East to export markets.

  • What ethylene pipelines facilities are currently available?
  • What new pipeline projects are forecasted?
  • Are there opportunities for new pipeline projects or waterborne movement?
  • Which markets can be targeted for ethylene export?
  • How does the spending on major classes of equipment shift over time?
  • What are the costs of moving ethylene?

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