Propane inventories continue seasonal build at a slower pace than last year

Strong overseas demand for propane from countries like India and Nepal is eating into domestic propane inventories here in the US. (image: ekantipur.com)

National propane inventories are nearly 10 million barrels lower than last year’s levels – a 16 percent dip on levels of 12 months ago.

Figures released today by the US Energy Information Administration show propane inventories posted a modest build in the last week of 800,000 barrels to end at 50.4 million barrels. That’s the equivalent of 53.3 days’ supply at current demand.

In contrast, there were 59.8 million barrels in storage this time last year – the equivalent of 76.8 day’s supply according to propane usage rates 12 months ago.

US propane inventories have now posted increases for 17 consecutive weeks, and grown by 23.9 million barrels in that time. But strong demand in countries like India and Nepal is cutting into domestic stocks.

China has also upped imports as it uses more alternative fuels during major droughts, meaning less water to power giant hydroelectricity plants. And the extreme hot weather in the US may also be fuelling higher propane demand to power air conditioning units in what is traditionally a seasonal off-season.

The largest build in the last week occurred in the Gulf Coast region, where inventories rose by 500,000 barrels of propane. Midwest regional stocks grew by 200,000 barrels, the Rocky Mountain/West Coast region added 100,000 barrels, and the East Coast stocks were unchanged from last week after falling in the previous week.

Propylene non-fuel use inventories represented 4.8 percent of total propane inventories.

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