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The often overlooked and usually unheralded bounty of the shale revolution has been a huge increase in natural gas liquids production. These chameleons of the hydrocarbon chain, which begin their trip to market as gas and end up transformed into liquids along the way, are providing emerging economies with clean burning fuel and US chemical producers with a potential cost advantage that they are betting billions of dollars will continue.
In the US Northeast, China has announced plans to spend as much as $80 billion to capitalize on abundant gas and NGLs in West Virginia. In the US Gulf Coast, $85 billion has already been spent since 2010 on capacity expansions with more to come. What’s the excitement about, and will the ending be another story of the seemingly inevitable end game of commodity capitalism – Nash’s Equilibrium?
**Anne Keller, Research Director – Natural Gas Liquids, Wood MacKenzie, Inc
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