Petrochemical companies see NGLs as a lower-cost feedstock compared to crude oil derivatives. They’re investing billions of dollars in infrastructure to accommodate the new supply. Simmons analyst Mark Reichman says that won’t come soon enough to avoid a glut on the market.
“Ethane is expected to experience the greatest oversupply among purity products, while increased investment in export facilities could provide an outlet for propane supplies. Butanes and pentane-plus products will likely be absorbed in the gasoline pool or be exported, although renewable standards requirements and greater automotive mileage efficiency could provide a headwind.”
Reichman says it could take until 2017 before new infrastructure allows demand for NGLs to catch up with supply.