Potential end-of-winter inventory positions

In last week’s Trader’s Corner, we focused on the fact that propane inventories were at a record high for the beginning of October – considered the start of the winter heating season by most. This past week, inventories continued to build, outpacing expectations with an 806,000-barrel gain that took them to 102.320 million barrels. The gain put inventories near the record high of 102.804 million barrels. The year that record high was set, inventories were at 94.054 million barrels to start October but continued to build through the third week of November.

Chart 1 – End-of-Winter Inventory Positions Since 2015

This week, we are going to look at history to estimate where propane inventories might be at the end of this winter in 2024. For context, Chart 1 is a history of end-of-winter inventory positions since 2015.

Since 2015, the end-of-winter inventory position has ranged from 32.671 million barrels to 59.118 million barrels. The average was 45.146 million barrels, with last year’s 55.456 million barrels the third highest over the period.


Chart 2 shows what week of the year inventories stopped drawing, which one could also call the end of winter.

Chart 2 – End of Inventory Draw

On average, the low inventory position hits in week 12 of the year. So, for our study, we are going to calculate winter inventory changes by using the inventory position at the last week of September through the last week of March, which will encompass the inventory changes during the traditional winter period of October through March.

Chart 3 – End-of-Winter 2023-24 Inventory Forecast

The highest inventory draw during the period occurred in the winter of 2020-21. The low case was last winter (2022-23). We used the average draw from 2015 forward for the base case.


Let’s begin with the base, or average, case. Remember when we did the forecast on where the inventory build period would take inventories? The base case was almost right on the money. So, we want to give this case plenty of consideration for the drawdown as well. Keep reading...

Cost Management Solutions LLC (CMS) is a firm dedicated to the unbiased analysis of the energy markets for the propane industry.

Mark Rachal, Director of Research and Publications at CMS, regularly provides insightful looks into various facets of the marketplace.