Energy Department releases Appalachian Ethane Storage Hub Report

Published on December 06, 2018 by Kevin Randolph

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The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) published Tuesday a Report to Congress on the potential for the development of an ethane storage and distribution hub in Appalachia, which would take advantage of resources from the Marcellus and Utica Shales.

The report compares a potential Appalachian hub to existing hubs that service the Gulf Coast and Permian Basin. It highlights the potential security and reliability benefits derived from enhancing the geographic diversity of the nation’s petrochemical industrial sector. An Appalachian hub, the report said, could help the United States gain global petrochemical market share while avoiding conflict with Gulf Coast expansion.

“There is an incredible opportunity to establish an ethane storage and distribution hub in the Appalachian region and build a robust petrochemical industry in Appalachia,” U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry said Tuesday at the annual National Petroleum Council Meeting in Washington D.C. “As our report shows, there is sufficient global need, and enough regional resources, to help the U.S. gain a significant share of the global petrochemical market. The Trump Administration would also support an Appalachia hub to strengthen our energy and manufacturing security by increasing our geographic production diversity.”

Ethane, a natural gas liquid (NGL), has applications as a feedstock for petrochemical manufacturing. Production of ethane in the Appalachian basin is projected to increase to 640,000 barrels per day through 2025, 20 times greater than five years ago.

DOE noted that Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia are responsible for 27 percent of U.S. natural gas production, as compared to two percent in 2008.