Prices for the hypothetical NGL barrels were their highest since late May at both Mont Belvieu, Texas, and Conway, Kan., over the past two weeks.

The rally, which has kept the Mont Belvieu barrel above $20 since the start of September, was led by a 7.2% rise in the price of ethane and a 9.3% increase in normal butane. Ethane’s margin almost tripled since the five-day period ending Oct. 1 to just under 3 cents per gallon (gal) and butane’s margin widened by about 21% to almost 36 cents/gal.

Still, the recent price jolt only disguised continued sluggishness. Mont Belvieu ethane is less than half of its price at this time in 2018 and the Mont Belvieu “barrel” is off 43%. And while the 10-day average price showed a strong upturn, the daily price peaked on Oct. 8 and has been drifting lower since.

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