Ethane key to US petrochem growth

An interesting piece in Platts on a report from the Dallas Fed on the growth of US petrochemicals based on ethane from shale gas.

It is often assumed that methane is a feedstock for petrochemicals but the relevant feedstocks are ethane and naphtha (produced from condensate). Australia produces ethane from the Cooper Basin and Bass Strait, which is used for petrochemicals. Some liquids-rich gas discoveries on the west coast also contain ethane. Australia also produces naphtha from Cooper Basin condensate. Coal seam gas does not contain ethane or any other liquids. Ethane is generally cheaper than naphtha so it is attractive for petrochemicals.