Propane Stocks Post Another Seasonal Build

Strong overseas demand for propane from countries like India has eaten into domestic US propane inventories and means they are lagging behind last year's levels. (image: geraldbrimacombe.com)

National propane stocks rose again in the last week, adding 1.1 million barrels to inventory reserves.

As of July 29, the US had 49.4 million barrels of propane in storages. That’s the equivalent of 67.8 days’ supply at current usage levels. In comparison, there were 55.1 million barrels in storage this time last year – the equivalent of 64.8 day’s supply.

Figures released by the US Energy Information Administration show the largest build in the last week occurred in the Midwest region, where inventories rose by 600,000 barrels of propane. The Gulf Coast region added 400,000 barrels, while the East Coast and Rocky Mountain/West Coast regional stocks both grew by less than 100,000 barrels.

Propane stocks have been building steadily during spring and summer as temperatures warm and people use less gas to heat their homes. But the increase in seasonal reserves is still lagging behind last year’s levels because of strong overseas demand for the gas in countries such as India and China, where it is used widely for cooking fuel, and Japan which lost significant nuclear power following the devastating earthquake and tsunami.

Propylene non-fuel use inventories represented 4.9 percent of total propane inventories last week. Propane stocks have now grown by 22.9 million barrels in the last 15 weeks.