Propane Personality: Rusty Braziel

February 19, 2024 By    

Rusty Braziel (Photo courtesy of RBN Energy)

Rusty Braziel

Founder and Executive Chairman, RBN Energy


Stephen F. Austin State University

MBA in Business and Finance
Class of 1973

BBA in Business and Finance
Class of 1972


January 2012-Present
RBN Energy
⦁ Founder and Executive Chairman

Bentek Energy
⦁ Vice President, Sales and Marketing

Prior experience

Braziel, a Texas native, started his career in 1974 as a computer programmer for Skelly Oil in Tulsa, Oklahoma. When Getty Oil bought Skelly Oil, Braziel moved to Los Angeles. He later returned to Tulsa, as well as to Houston, for other roles in the energy field, including with Texaco and Williams. He’s also worked as a commodity trader, fundamentals analyst and operations manager in roles spanning natural gas, natural gas liquids (NGLs) and crude oil markets. It was during these early years of his career that Braziel felt he gained a true understanding of the energy markets.

“It just happened that I had an aptitude for computer programming, and that got me a job working for a refiner.”

The rise of RBN

Braziel launched RBN Energy in 2012 because he saw a need to provide information, analytics and consulting services based on all of the energy markets. “What I had seen is that a lot of what happens in one market influences the others significantly,” he says. “We put together a company focused on the interrelationships between those commodity groups.” Having that information, he says, only makes the industries smarter and more efficient. RBN uses a team of 23 full-time employees and about 25 part-time networkers – “experienced boots-on-the-ground folks” – to execute its business model. That includes blogging daily to 40,000 readers and consulting with clients on projects. David Braziel, Rusty’s son, is the president and CEO.

Rusty Braziel (Photo courtesy of RBN Energy)

Rusty Braziel shares market insights at company events and conferences. (Photo courtesy of RBN Energy)

The propane market in 2024

Braziel says it’s going to be a strange year for propane due mainly to a surplus supply. That’s because the four primary export terminals on the Gulf Coast – Energy Transfer, Enterprise Products Partners, Phillips 66 and Targa – are close to being maxed out. Growing propane production, unimpressive retail demand and the stressed export capacity make 2024 a year to watch. Braziel recalls a similar scenario unfolding in 2015. “The market fairly well fixed itself, although propane prices got darn cheap,” he says on Jan. 9. “But now the propane market is twice as big; production is twice as big; exports are orders of magnitude bigger than they were then. The problem we’ve got facing us with surplus supply in 2024 is bigger than it was then.”

NGL love

Braziel says NGLs are his first love because of the close-knit makeup of the industry and its people. He also enjoys the intellectual challenge of analyzing the market. Of the NGLs, propane stands out to him because of its use in people’s homes and its seasonal nature. “When something goes wrong in the propane markets, it’s not just some refiner that’s having downtime. It’s somebody at their house, cold,” he says. “And that makes it an entirely different prioritization when what you’re talking about is effectively human needs.”

Musical themes

RBN Energy’s blogs reflect Braziel’s love of music. In fact, from high school until his mid-30s, he played guitar in rock and country groups in east Texas, Tulsa and Los Angeles. Steely Dan, the Doobie Brothers and the Eagles are among his favorites. “That was where I was planning on making my career, and college was the backup plan,” he says of music.

About the Author:

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

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