This spring, some 3.5 billion birds will migrate north to the United States, according to ornithologists at Cornell University.

In contrast, ethane prices are heading due south. Last week’s price at Mont Belvieu, Texas, which averaged under 21 cents per gallon (gal) over the five-day tracking period, was the lowest since early December 2017, or 17 months. On April 2, the last day of the period, the price dipped below 19 cents/gal.

The reason is that, unlike the birds, ethane has nowhere to go. Ethylene inventories are bloated, say analysts at EnVantage Inc., so ethane crackers have had to cut back on what they produce and how much feedstock they need. The bright spot in this picture, EnVantage says, is that exports from Morgan’s Point on the Houston Ship Channel are strong because the ongoing shutdown of the Mariner East pipelines in Pennsylvania has cut off exports from Marcus Hook.

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