February’s freeze caused largest-ever drop in ethane demand


In February 2021, extremely cold winter weather in the Gulf Coast region resulted in outages at most petrochemical plants in the area, causing the largest monthly decline in demand for ethane feedstock on record, reports Hellenic Shipping News. Ethane consumption in February dropped 654,000 barrels per day from January 2021 to a total of 1.21 million barrels per day. It was the lowest level of ethane consumption since October 2017, when the U.S. Gulf Coast was recovering from the impacts of Hurricane Harvey.

The cold weather in February 2021 caused the largest monthly decline in natural gas production on record, resulting in elevated natural gas prices throughout the country. Because of high prices and demand for home heating, natural gas deliveries to residential customers took priority, and deliveries to industrial users halted entirely, including to petrochemical crackers and other customers who use natural gas for process heat and for onsite electricity and steam production. See the full story.