LP Gas

Propane part of DOE report outlining US energy policy

The Office of Energy Policy and Systems Analysis (EPSA) within the Department of Energy (DOE) released the first installment of its Quadrennial Energy Review, a report that provides a multi-year roadmap for U.S. energy policy.

According to EPSA, the report was developed to identify the threats, risks and opportunities for U.S. energy and climate security, as well as to enable the federal government to translate policy goals into actions and proposed investments.

The Quadrennial Energy Review focuses on a number of energy sources, including propane, which is referenced periodically throughout the 300-plus-page report. The report focuses largely on energy transmission, storage and distribution, characterizing U.S. energy infrastructure and exploring the trends affecting infrastructure choices.

In the report, EPSA encourages DOE to continue to monitor propane storage, use and exports. DOE is also advised to ensure adequate support for the Energy Information Administration‘s (EIA) data collection and analysis relative to domestic propane storage and use, as well as propane exports.

In addition, EPSA provides some background of the changing U.S. propane infrastructure landscape. EPSA acknowledges that the infrastructure connecting propane producers with distribution points has changed dramatically in recent years. EPSA cites Kinder Morgan‘s Cochin Pipeline as an example, noting that the pipeline’s reversal cut off a major propane supply source for Midwest marketers.

Propane exports are also discussed briefly in the report. EPSA writes that exports are competing with the supply needs of propane users in the agricultural, petrochemical and residential sectors.

In addition to sharing these developments, EPSA lists a series of actions the Obama administration has taken to respond to changes in transmission, storage and distribution infrastructure for propane and other natural gas liquids. EIA, for example, added capability to monitor propane inventories on a more granular, state-by-state basis, enhancing the ability of the industry, consumers and policymakers to monitor possible shortages and distribution issues.

Also, EPSA acknowledges that the federal government supported public education campaigns to encourage consumers to fill their propane storage early for the 2014-15 winter heating season.

The Quadrennial Energy Review offers a glimpse of propane sales opportunities in Caribbean nations, as well. According to EPSA, propane, other liquid fuels and renewable sources for electricity generation are options to displace fuel oil. EPSA also identifies liquefied natural gas as a viable energy source for Caribbean nations.