Now for those unfamiliar with the industry, NGL stands for Natural Gas Liquids and is a blanket term used to describe a series of hydrocarbons including ethane, propane, butane, isobutane, and natural gasoline. This two-day event was designed to break down the global demand within these NGL feedstocks and provide a competitive comparison between price, production capacity and logistical cost for U.S. exports.
The U.S. shale boom has resulted in a large surplus of NGLs and the resulting drop in price has led investors to pour large sums of money into new pipelines, processing plants, and petrochemical projects both domestically and abroad. Chiefly among these investors is the Swiss multinational chemical company Ineos, who just this month, has become the first player to begin exporting cryogenically liquefied American ethane via ship to Europe. The decision of Ineos and others to move into this new area of opportunity has sparked much interest within the business and is what had initially led to Tulane’s involvement with the conference.
A team of students from the Master of Management in Energy program are spending this spring semester analyzing these evolving ethane markets in an attempt to quantify and accurately forecastwhat the true potential of this new export opportunity is. One member of the team enthusiastically described the event with the following:
“We were able to gain a variety of perspectives and noted varying forecasts that often differed from company to company. We have learned that this sector is even more complicated than we previously had thought but have come away with some very good experience and a number of new contacts and resources.” –Robby Combs, MME student
With the backing of the Tulane Energy Institute and under the guidance of Professor Eric Smith, the team attended the conference with the intention of gaining first–hand market knowledge and a plethora of new contacts from within the industry. The conference was moderated by Antero Resources Vice President Steve Woodward anda panel of speakers from BP, DOW Chemical, Indian Oil Company, Phillips 66, and more. This conference was the perfect place for the students to build upon the knowledge they had already gathered over the tenure of their education at Tulane.
Richard Fannin, Robby Combs, and Junfei (Jeff) Zhou