The total U.S. propane inventory was virtually flat last week, and supply levels continue to hover below their average range, according to this afternoon’s report from the Energy Information Administration (EIA).
The stockpile added 79,000 barrels to settle at almost 26.5 million barrels for the week that ended Friday, as April 2011 shapes up as one of the dryer Aprils of the past decade, according to the EIA.
The Midwest and the Gulf Coast combined for a 400,000 barrel increase, but the East Coast sipped up more than 300,000 barrels over the week.
Inventory levels have fallen more than 400,000 barrels since the end of March. Over the same period last year, reserves added almost 9 million barrels. It’s not the first time that stocks stayed flat through April — it was a similar story in 2003 — but judging by the history books, propane should be on a warm-weather rebound by now.
UPDATE: “Where’s the propane?” some commenters asked last week, when the EIA report showed a decline in supplies. One poster, Craig, has pointed to the recent rise in exports. He writes:
propane exports are running at 3,500,000 barrels per month. they have been running this high for over a year. this is the maximum we can export per month. because of the cheap dollar we have the lowest price on propane in the world. cheaper than the mideast. we are the world’s largest producer of propane and currently can make 50 cents per gallon more selling propane to europe than keeping it here. facilities are being built to double our export capabilities by the end of 2012.
In fact, last December, the U.S. set a record for propane exports in a single month.