Do you think there’s a chance we might be saying to ourselves next year that “too many cooks spoilt the broth”? I think there’s a pretty good chance we will, especially if the main protagonists, in the U.S. Gulf’s 2020 LPG export trade, have to resort to competing with each other for a greater share of the export pie. The simple facts are that we are going to see a significant increase in fractionation capacity, an increase in export capacity along the U.S. Gulf coast, and an inflow of NGLs from the Permian Basin, aren’t we?
I flew back with a lot of the Houston Texans American football fans, and I mean a lot, on their way to Wembley for Sunday’s game. They were in a very happy mood, especially as the miniatures were being passed across the back line of the plane like a quarter-back play. Now this was totally different to the mood in the city before I left, beaten in the final game of the World Series by the Washington Nationals, who were spurred to victory by Anthony Rendon, a Houston born and bred, who hit the first home run for the Nationals in the last match.
We make decisions every day, some good ones and some bad, normally those judgements are made to get things done, but on occasions traders will decide to do nothing, to wait, for a market to move to their desired target, or to wait for something to just change. As we approach a significant period in the year, where seasonality starts to have an increasing influence on our market, traders are naturally a little hesitant, waiting and wondering what happens next.
In yesterday’s SIMON SAYS, I looked for the reason why we’re still seeing announcements of PDH expansions and new olefin crackers in the U.S., especially given the reality of China’s plans to stand by themselves in the petrochemical world, increasing their domestic production of petrochemicals while cutting back on imports of olefins, such as ethylene and propylene, and also the polymers, the resins and fibers.
I started the debate, in yesterday’s SIMON SAYS, as to whether the China card, played by many petrochemical companies in justifying investment decisions for new olefin crackers and propane dehydrogenation (PDH) plants, will finally get flipped, but rather than being the ace in the pack, it’s looking more and more as if it could even be the joker. Let’s hope for a happy conclusion!
I have to admit my son surprised me this summer by announcing…………he wanted to take chemistry as one of his three subjects for A-level, the precursor to University in England. Let me explain that in the Hill family, my father was a radio operator on bombers in World War 2, and for fun he became a radio ham in his later years, much to the annoyance of my mother.
Yesterday I was in my comfort zone, the market action was clearly at the front of the curve, where some real time world LPG supply issues were having a significant influence on demand decisions in Asia, as we enter that winter run-in, just like the old days. Middle East LPG exports in October down, down from Saudi Arabia and right down out of Iran. U.S. Gulf exports at no change, despite being told we were supposed to be getting a 15% increase in export slots late third quarter.
I was relaxing in my Houston apartment a couple of nights ago, getting ready for the big ball game, they call it the “World” series here, and the Houston Astros are in it, playing another American team, surprise surprise, the Washington Nationals. Now, Washington used to be originally the Montreal Expos, but they are truly a U.S. team today, even their cap looks as if it’s sponsored by Walgreen’s.
Over 30 years ago I made my first, and until last week, my most recent visit to Mont Belvieu, Texas, about 40 miles to the east of Houston, along Highway Interstate 10. In the 1980s, I remember there were a few pipes poking out of the ground, and I had just visited Enterprise’s already impressive Terminal, I won’t say export terminal, as they were doing both exports and imports at the time. But now the whole area is a vast array of fractionation towers sprouting up in all areas. Some tall, some not so tall, but none were small.