Cracking Complexity

Ethane Cracker Megaprojects, Full Of Risks, Are Booming In The US

Call it fracking's lesser-known trickle-down effect. The surge in U.S. natural gas production not only results in low fuel prices, it's also behind an uptick in ethane cracker plant construction projects. The facilities produce ethylene, a key component in an array of products—everything from plastics and shampoos to military gear and medical equipment. It's estimated that the cracker building boom will push U.S. ethane production up to 1.7 million barrels per day by 2018, up from 1.3 million barrels a day in 2016, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
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