ARCHIVED – 2014 Propane and Butanes Exports Summary

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Summary of Exports

This summary is based on data from the National Energy Board’s (NEB) natural gas liquids (propane and butanes) export statistics (as of April 2015; data is subject to revisions). For discussion and commentary on NGL markets in 2014, please refer to the NEB’s Canadian Energy Dynamics: Review of 2014 – Energy Market Assessment.

Propane and Butane Exports – Volumes, Average Price and Value
  2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
PROPANE EXPORTS
Volume (m³) 4 690 449 4 726 567 5 732 031 5 818 925 5 250 255
Volume (bbl/d) 80 830 81 452 98 509 100 277 90 477
Average Price (¢/L) 33.21 37.16 21.62 23.86 31.51
Value (Cdn$) 1 557 672 814 1 756 276 695 1 239 294 319 1 388 521 481 1 654 493 334
BUTANE EXPORTS
Volume (m³) 1 368 381 1 164 164 1 432 666 1 086 331 1 218 993
Volume (bbl/d) 23 581 20 062 24 622 18 721 21 007
Average Price (¢/L) 41.24 51.38 38.52 31.47 32.14
Value (Cdn$) 564 333 189 598 081 621 551 945 765 341 861 763 391 744 830

m³ = cubic metres
bbl/d = barrels per day
¢/L = cents per litre; obtained by total value divided by volume (1 m³ = 1 000 L)

Source: NEB Statistics; Propane and Butanes – Export Volume – Query and Export Price – Query

Propane and Butanes Exports by Month and Year

Figure 1: Canadian Propane and Butane Export Volumes, 2005-2014

Figure 1: Canadian Propane and Butane Export Volumes, 2005-2014

Source: NEB Statistics; Propane and Butanes Export Volume – Query

  • Figure 1 shows that in 2014, Canada exported 5.3 million m³ (90.5 Mbbl/d) of propane. This was 568.7 thousand m³ (9.8 Mbbl/d or 10 per cent) less than the 5.8 million m³ (100.2 thousand bbl/d) of propane exports in 2013. Although there were decreased propane exports over the last decade, propane export volumes in 2014 were slightly less than in 2012 and 2013 but higher than in 2010 and 2011.
  • In 2014, Canada exported 1.2 million m³ (21.0 Mbbl/d) of butanes. This was 132.7 thousand m³ (2.3 Mbbl/d or 12 per cent) greater than the previous year’s butanes exports of 1.1 million m³ (18.7 Mbbl/d).

Figure 2: Monthly Propane and Butanes Export Volumes (Jan-10 – Dec-14)

Figure 2: Monthly Propane and Butanes Export Volumes (Jan-10 – Dec-14)

Source: NEB Statistics; Propane and Butanes Export Volume – Query

  • Figure 2 shows that during 2014, there was less propane exported throughout the year, and more propane was exported in colder months than during the summer. Volumes of butanes that were exported from Canada fluctuated within a smaller range with less prominent cycles. For example, in 2014, more butanes were exported during the second half of the year than the first.

Regional Exports

Propane

Figure 3: Yearly Propane Export Volumes by Region

Figure 3: Yearly Propane Export Volumes by Region

Source: NEB Statistics; Propane and Butanes Export Volume – Query

  • Figure 3 shows that in 2014, PADD II (U.S. Midwest) received the majority (44 per cent) of Canada’s propane exports. The 2.3 million m³ (39.8 Mbbl/d) of propane Canada exported to PADD II was 0.4 per cent less than the 2.3 million m³ (40.0 Mbbl/d) of propane that was exported in 2013.
  • PADD I (U.S. East Coast) received 33 per cent of total Canadian propane exports in 2014, or 1.7 million m³ (29.7 Mbbl/d). This was a 35 per cent decrease compared to the 2.6 million m³ (44.0 Mbbl/d) that was exported to PADD I in 2013.
  • PADD V (U.S. West Coast) received 893.2 thousand m³ (15.4 Mbbl/d), or 17 per cent, of Canadian propane exports. This is a 32 per cent increase of 215.7 thousand m³ (1.8 Mbbl/d) from the previous year’s 677.6 thousand m³ (11.7 Mbbl/d).
  • PADD IV (U.S. Rockies) received 6 per cent, or 310.8 thousand m³ (5.4 Mbbl/d), of Canadian propane exports. This was a 22 per cent increase of 55.1 thousand m³ (1.0 Mbbl/d) from 2013 volumes.
  • PADD III (U.S. Gulf Coast) typically receives the least Canadian propane exports as it is a self-sufficient, and therefore limited, market. In 2014, 11.9 thousand m³ (205.1 bbl/d), which is less than one half per cent, of exports went to PADD III. This is three per cent, or 315.0 m³ (5 bbl/d), greater than the 11.6 thousand m³ (200 bbl/d) exported in 2013.

Butanes

Figure 4: Yearly Butanes Export Volumes by Region

Figure 4: Yearly Butanes Export Volumes by Region

Source: NEB Statistics; Propane and Butanes Export Volume – Query

  • Figure 4 shows that in 2014, PADD II also received the largest share (39 per cent) of butanes exports. The 477.1 thousand m³ (8.2 Mbbl/d) of exported butanes to PADD II decreased by 7 per cent from 2013 volumes of 513.3 thousand m³ (8.8 Mbbl/d), which is a difference of 36.2 thousand m³ (624 bbl/d).
  • In 2014, PADD I received 33 per cent, or 402.8 thousand m³ (6.9 Mbbl/d) of Canadian butanes exports. This is a six per cent, or 25.2 thousand m³ (435 bbl/d), decrease from 2013 volumes of 428.0 thousand m³ (7.4 Mbbl/d).
  • PADD V received 21 per cent, or 257.4 thousand m³ (4.4 Mbbl/d) of butanes exports in 2014, an increase of 146 per cent from 2013 export volumes of 104.5 thousand m³ (1.8 Mbbl/d).
  • PADD IV received 56.1 thousand m³ (1.0 Mbbl/d), or five per cent, of butanes exports, which was a 70 per cent increase from the previous year when it received 33.1 thousand m³ (0.6 Mbbl/d).
  • Finally, PADD III received two per cent, or 25.6 thousand m³ (0.4 Mbbl/d), of butanes exports, which was a 229 per cent increase from the 7.8 thousand m³ (0.1 Mbbl/d) of butanes it received in 2013.

Propane and Butanes Values and Prices

Figure 5: Historical Propane and Butanes Values and Prices

Figure 5: Historical Propane and Butanes Values and Prices

Source: NEB Statistics; Propane and Butanes Export Volume – Query and Export Price – Query

Propane

  • Based on the total value divided by the quantity of exported propane, Figure 5 shows that in 2014, the average export price increased to $0.32 per litre, a 38 per cent increase compared to the 2013 average price of $0.24 per litre. The gross value of propane exports for 2014 was $1.65 billion, which was approximately $0.27 billion or 19 per cent greater than the 2013 value of $1.39 billion. The difference in value does not add up properly due to rounding.
  • Compared to 2008, when propane exports grossed $2.44 billion, the gross value of Canadian propane exports in 2014 decreased by 32 per cent, or an average of 6 per cent a year. Similarly, the average price received for exported propane decreased 14 per cent from the 2008 average price of $0.38 per litre.

Butane

  • Based on the total value divided by quantity of exported butanes, in 2014, the average export price increased 6 per cent from $0.31 per litre in 2013 to $0.33 per litre.

Figure 6: 2014 Propane and Butanes Values and Prices by Month

Figure 6: 2014 Propane and Butanes Values and Prices by Month

Source: NEB Statistics; Propane and Butanes Export Volume – Query and Export Price – Query

  • The gross value of butanes exports in 2014 was $0.39 billion, which was approximately $0.05 billion or 15 per cent more than the 2013 export value of $0.34 billion.
  • Compared to 2008, when butanes exports grossed $707.1 million, the gross value of butanes exports in 2014 decreased by 45 per cent, or an average of nine per cent per year. Likewise, the average price received for butanes exports in 2014 decreased by 28 per cent from the 2008 average price of $0.46 per litre.
  • On a monthly basis (Figure 6), propane export values usually increased during colder months, particularly in January. The gross export value of butanes also experienced cycles that were not as affected by colder temperatures.
  • The butanes price was generally higher than the propane price, except for a short period in late 2013/early 2014. The total value of exported butanes in 2014 was lower than the exported propane value.

Export Term and Transport Mode

Figure 7: Propane Exports by Transport Mode

Figure 7: Propane Exports by Transport Mode

Source: NEB Statistics; Propane Export Volume by Mode of Transportation – Query

  • All exports of propane and butanes must be authorized by a long-term licence or a short-term order from the NEB. Currently, 100 per cent of propane and butanes exports are authorized by short-term export orders. Short-term orders do not restrict export volumes from Canada.
  • At this time, all propane and butanes exports go to the U.S. by pipeline, rail or truck. Rail is the number one method of transporting propane and butanes out of Canada, while pipelines are second.
  • Since 2010, propane volumes exported by
    • rail increased 40 per cent in total;
    • pipeline decreased 33 per cent in total; and
    • truck increased 30 per cent in total. [Figure 7]

Figure 8: Butanes Exports by Transport Mode

Figure 8: Butanes Exports by Transport Mode

Source: NEB Statistics; Butanes Export Volume by Mode of Transportation – Query

  • Since 2010, butanes volumes exported by
    • truck increased 94 per cent in total;
    • rail decreased 15 per cent in total; and
    • pipeline increased 19 per cent in total. [Figure 8]
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