Ethane’s price slipped closer to single digits last week at Mont Belvieu, Texas, to its lowest point in almost 40 months as its margin dropped into negative territory. The price is off 55% compared to a year ago. The dubious 40-month marker applied to the prices of propane and the hub’s hypothetical NGL barrel, as well.

Ironically, this was also a great week for ethane, as the State of Texas approved permits to begin construction on the $10 billion Gulf Coast Growth Ventures petrochemical plant that will feature the world’s largest ethane cracker. The joint venture between Exxon Mobil Corp. and SABIC, the Riyadh, Saudi Arabia-based chemical maker that is majority-owned by Saudi Aramco, will be able to produce 1.8 million metric tonnes per year (mtpa) of ethylene.

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