The Cochin Pipeline was originally scheduled to be out of service for two weeks in November and another two weeks in December because of the ongoing pipeline reversal project. But Kinder Morgan, which operates the pipeline, confirmed to the Minnesota Propane Association (MPA) that Cochin will be out of service for 21 days between Nov. 27 and Dec. 17, MPA announced.
According to Roger Leider, MPA’s executive director, Cochin is staying open longer to accommodate high demand for the late crop-drying season in Minnesota. MPA anticipates a heavy propane draw to continue over the next couple of weeks but for demand to diminish later this month.
Still, a three-week shutdown means marketers will have to consider alternatives to provide propane for the start of the coming winter heating season. Leider suggests retailers consider addressing their scheduled December fills early, as well as make sure their storage facilities are full leading into Thanksgiving. Leider adds that maintaining a reserve for emergency needs is a prudent measure to take.
A three-week shutdown of Cochin is also significant considering Minnesota’s role as a propane supplier. According to the American Petroleum Institute’s (API) 2011 Sales of Natural Gas Liquids and Liquefied Refinery Gases report, released earlier this year, Minnesota ranked sixth in the nation with 207.5 million gallons of propane sold to the residential market. Minnesota’s contribution to the ag market is a significant one, too, as the state ranked second behind Iowa with 67.6 million gallons sold in 2011, according to the API report.
“Marketers are encouraged to work with their suppliers, shippers and transporters to ensure adequate supply during this pipeline outage time,” Leider says in a Nov. 1 e-newsletter to MPA members. “There are other terminals that may be able to help fill the gap. If we all work together, we will be able to meet this challenge with successful performance.”