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US Government Supports Ethane Storage Hub In Appalachia

The US region of Appalachia could see a new ethane storage hub created, after the Department of Energy (DOE) lent its support to the scheme.

A new DOE report published to congress this week highlighted the benefits of establishing an ethane storage and distribution hub in this part of the US, noting that it would help diversify the US’s petrochemicals manufacturing base.

In particular, this hub would take advantage of the natural gas and natural gas liquids produced at the Marcellus and Utica shales.

S&P Global revealed that the DOE report also highlighted the potential problem with much of the country’s petrochemical infrastructure currently being situated along the Gulf coast.

The report stated: “The present-day geographic concentration of along the Gulf coast of petrochemical infrastructure and supply may pose a strategic risk, where severe weather events limit the availability of key feedstocks.”

What’s more, ethane production in the Appalachian basin is projected to rise at a rapid rate in the coming years, hitting 640,000 barrels per day by 2025, which is more than 20 times what was produced just five years ago.

It’s natural gas liquids in particular that Appalachia needs more infrastructure for, as it currently doesn’t have appropriate facilities to store these petrochemicals. The DOE report also pointed out that, if Appalachia was an independent country, it would be the world’s third-largest producer of natural gas.

This strengthens its case for developing a hub here that connects supply and demand sources, the report suggested.

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