EIA reports PADD 3 exports in 2017 for petrochemical supply

June 15, 2018 By    

In 2017, the United States exported 905,000 barrels per day (bpd) of propane, with the largest volumes going to supply petrochemical feedstock demand in Asian countries, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Propane is used by the petrochemical industry as a feedstock for producing primarily ethylene and propylene, building blocks for chemical and plastic manufacturing. Four of the top five countries receiving U.S. propane exports are in Asia – Japan, China, South Korea and Singapore. They collectively imported 452,000 bpd of U.S. propane in 2017, or about half of all U.S. propane exports.

Overall, propane accounted for 17 percent of all U.S. petroleum product exports in 2017. U.S. propane exports to these four countries doubled between 2015 and 2017, displacing some of the region’s propane supplies from the Middle East as well as regional production of propane from refineries and natural gas processing plants. Investments in petrochemical facilities that use propane as a feedstock in Asia have created an export outlet for U.S. propane supplies. This source of demand, combined with a large and sustained U.S. price discount to the international market, encouraged large investments in U.S. propane export capacity. Propane exports tend to be shipped from ports in the Gulf Coast region.

This area accounted for 90 percent of all U.S. propane exports in 2017. As a result of these investments, between 2010 – when the United States became a net exporter of propane – and 2017, gross propane exports increased by 796,000 bpd. By late 2017, in part because of greater U.S. propane exports, U.S. propane prices reestablished a closer link with international propane and crude oil prices. About half of U.S. propane production is from the Gulf Coast (PADD 3).

About the Author:

Brian Richesson is the editor in chief of LP Gas Magazine. Contact him at brichesson@northcoastmedia.net or 216-706-3748.

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