Shale Boom Lifts US Dominance in Liquids for Plastics, Cooking

(Bloomberg) -- The energy dominance President Donald Trump seeks for the U.S. is getting closer to reality when it comes to petroleum liquids used to make plastics, heat homes and cook, according to Bank of America.

America’s rise in the global market for so-called natural gas liquids -- byproducts of oil and gas output that include propane used to heat homes and ethane that’s turned into plastic resins -- is “extraordinary,” a team of Bank of America Merril Lynch analysts led by Francisco Blanch said in a research note to clients. The U.S. is producing one in three gallons of those liquids sold into the global market, they said.

While the combined output from members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries still exceeds America’s, U.S. production has increased at a far more dramatic rate.

The surge, which results from the revolution in fracking and horizontal-drilling techniques used across U.S. shale basins, comes at a time when the global use of NGLs is growing as a share of total demand for thermal fuels, the Bank of America analysts said. Explorers including Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. and EQT Corp. have pledged to increase their production.

“Domestic and international demand trends could remain strong, as U.S. shale producers seem to be sitting on a bottomless supply of NGLs,” the analysts said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ryan Collins in Houston at To contact the editors responsible for this story: Reg Gale at Carlos Caminada, Christine Buurma.


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