Ethane’s rally continued last week with the Mont Belvieu, Texas, price doubling since its collapse to near-single digits in late July. Adding to the giddiness, the hub’s hypothetical NGL barrel’s average price climbed above $20 for only the second time in the last 13 weeks.

Ethane’s margin also more than doubled in the past week to above 4 cents per gallon (gal). That type of movement, combined with the steadily increasing benchmark Henry Hub natural gas price, signals improving balances, EnVantage Inc. said in a report.

But it’s not just the surge in natural gas prices (up 12.9% for the month through Sept. 10) that is driving ethane’s skyward trajectory. EnVantage cited the reduction of ethylene plant outages and expectations that Sasol Ltd.’s 1.5 million-ton-per-year Lake Charles Chemicals Project and Shintech’s Plaquemine, La., crackers would soon be fully operational.

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