Abundant shale natural gas reserves in the United States are expected to keep petrochemical producers in North America well stocked with inexpensive ethane for the next decade, according to a latest Platts International report.

The just-launched Platts Petrochemical Analytics: Shale Gas to Polyethylene - Global Outlook to 2023, a new quarterly report which features a 10-year price forecast from Platts’ oil and natural gas analytics unit Bentek Energy examines how the US shale gas revolution is rapidly changing the global ethane, ethylene, polyethylene and natural gas liquids (NGLs) markets.

It concludes that ethane will likely be over supplied in the US through 2018, when prices are expected to climb as new ethane crackers come online and absorb the excess feedstock, an official statement said.

The report is the first in a planned series of quarterly reports that will be produced by the Platts Petrochemical Analytics team, newly formed to better serve the needs of corporate executives, strategic planners and analysts in the petrochemical industry. “This particular report explains how today’s wide cracking margins are incentivising a rush for new capacity and how this might erode the US feedstock advantage post 2017,’’ Jim Foster, senior petrochemical analyst at Platts said.

 The new quarterly focuses on global and regional polyethylene trade flows, changing market fundamentals, production outlook, global cracker capacity and project updates.