It’s no surprise that opportunities for midstream operators continue to develop as more crude oil, natural gas and NGL are produced. What is coming as a bit of a surprise are the areas in which these opportunities are coming in, which is outside of the midstream space.

Not only are midstream operators continuing to build pipelines, fractionators and gas processing plants, they’ve also taken to building export terminals and becoming more involved with alternate modes of transporting crude and NGL, such as rail and truck. However, some midstream operators are further expanding into the downstream by developing petrochemical projects.

These downstream moves are being fueled by increased demand for petrochemical products. According to a recent report from the International Energy Agency (IEA), petrochemicals—and not transportation—are expected to account for about one-third of global crude oil demand by 2030 and half of global demand by 2050.

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