With the average price of Henry Hub natural gas up 17.6% during the eight-day period since the last Frac Spread and the Mont Belvieu, Texas, hypothetical NGL barrel holding steady, post-Thanksgiving Day margins were creamed across the board.
Indeed, all Mont Belvieu NGL suffered double-digit setbacks, especially ethane, which absorbed a 34% reduction to 3.4 cents per gallon (gal). Isobutane emerged the least damaged with its margin narrowing by just under 12%.
Ethane prices moved up last week, rising 8.8% to return to a 30+ cents/gal territory at Mont Belvieu and 18.5% at Conway, Kan., to its highest point since mid-January. The lift, EnVantage Inc. said in a report, can be attributed to those surging natural gas prices—$4.48 per million British Thermal Units (MMBtu) at Chicago City Gate and $4.40/MMBtu at Henry Hub. Otherwise, reduced cracking demand and weaker exports would lower ethane prices, and the outlook is not terribly sunny.