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EIA: US propane inventories are at an all-time high

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Hydrocarbon Engineering,

According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), US inventories of propane and propylene reached 97.7 million bbls as of 11 September. During 1H15, propane and propylene inventories demonstrated a 24.3 milion bbls y/y increase.

As production of propane and other hydrocarbon gas liquids (HGL) has grown, the ability to transport, store, and export these commodities has expanded. During 1H15, production of propane at natural gas plants was 31.3 million bbls, or 172 000 bpd, higher than during the first half of 2014. Exports increased by 33.3 million bbls (182 000 bpd) over the same period.

Traditionally, propane and propylene stocks increase from the start of April to the end of September, and they are drawn down from October to March, when agricultural and heating demands increase. In 2015, inventories began increasing in mid-February, more than six weeks earlier than the historical average.

EIA's September Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO) expects propane and propylene inventories to begin the October heating season at record levels, reaching a high of 99.1 million bbls at the end of September. STEO anticipates stronger than average inventory draws beginning in the 4Q15, as gas plant production slows and exports continue to expand. Natural gas plant production of propane, which reached a monthly high of 1.13 million bpd in April, is forecast to decline slightly in the 1Q16 before rising to 1.19 million bpd by 4Q16.

STEO also projects that net exports, which reached a monthly high of 518 000 bpd in April, are projected to continue increasing, reaching 702 000 bpd in the 4Q16 as export facilities continue to expand and transport costs to export markets decrease with the rising number of tankers and the opening of the widened Panama Canal. 

Edited from press release by

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