US 2012 LPG exports rise 27% in 2012 on higher NGL production

19 March 2013 22:35  [Source: ICIS news]

SAN ANTONIO (ICIS)--US liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) exports rose by 27% in 2012, because of higher production of natural gas liquids (NGLs), but future growth is hindered by existing infrastructure, consultants said on Tuesday.

The increased production of NGLs has caused propane to increase by nearly 750,000 bbl/day in 2012 from 630,000 bbl/day in 2011, said Matt Thundyil of Transcend Solutions and Praveen Gunaseelan of Vantage Point Advisors.

They made their comments during the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) annual meeting. Propane and butane are the main constituents of LPG.

LPG exports from the US have risen to just over 200,000 bbl/day from the historical trend of 50,000 bbl/day. The constraints from existing infrastructure have resulted in plans to expand export capacity.

The capacity expansions may further increase LPG exports into Latin America, which will displace some product normally shipped from Europe.

According to Thundyil and Gunaseelan, the LPG supply glut in the US has pressured prices in end markets such as ethylene feedstock and exports. Refiners can expect that to continue until the export infrastructure is expanded and, accordingly, when on-purpose propylene plants that use propane feedstock come on stream.

The AFPM annual meeting runs through Tuesday.

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By: Anna Matherne
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