Propane and Butanes Annual Export Summary – 2020

Table 1: Summary of Trade

Table 1: Summary of Trade
  2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Propane Exports
Volume (m³) 6 659 076 8 021 304 8 846 020 10 834 092 9 286 920
Volume (bbl) 41 885 588 50 454 002 55 641 466 68 146 439 58 414 727
Value ($) 982 300 398 1 901 085 523 2 232 867 958 1 988 288 895 1 665 884 518
Price (¢/L) 14.75 23.70 25.24 18.35 17.94
Butanes Exports
Volume (m³) 1 080 347 1 718 587 2 384 452 3 313 856 2 050 926
Volume (bbl) 6 795 383 10 809 912 14 998 203 20 844 154 12 900 324
Value ($) 216 071 611 454 579 669 620 112 683 530 960 264 298 025 470
Price (¢/L) 20.00 26.45 26.01 16.02 14.53
m³ = cubic metres
bbl = barrels
L = litre
1 m³ = 6.29 barrels or 1000 L
¢/L = cents per litre

The data in this page are provided in EXCEL format (.XLSX) and are updated annually. Export data is filed with the Canada Energy Regulator 30 days after the end of each month. For the latest export data, including updates and revisions, please visit the Commodity Statistics portal.

Figure Data [EXCEL 101 KB] – Updated 19 February 2021

Contact cts-ssp@cer-rec.gc.ca for further information.

Figure 1: Propane and Butanes Export Volumes and Values

This figure shows propane and butanes export volumes and values. The bars show the export volumes against the left axis, and the dots show the value of the exports against the right axis. Propane export volumes decreased by 14% since 2019, and export values decreased by 16%. Butanes export volumes decreased by 38% and values decreased by 44%.

Source and Description

Source: CER Commodity Tracking System Statistics as of 19 February 2021: Natural Gas Liquids – Propane and Butanes – Export Volume Summary; Export Price

Figure Description: This data description is in metric units.

Propane: In 2020, 9 286 920 cubic metres or $1 665 884 518 of propane was exported from Canada. December had the highest volume exported in 2020 at 1 099 472 cubic metres. June had the lowest volume exported at 506 443 cubic metres. December had the highest-value of exports at $236 million. April had the lowest-value of exports at $84 million.

Butanes: In 2020, 2 050 926 cubic metres or $298 025 470 of butanes were exported from Canada. December had the highest volume exported at 302 719 cubic metres. April had the lowest volume exported at 79 760 cubic metres. December had the highest-valued exports at $58 million. April had the lowest-valued exports at $6 million.

Figure 2: Propane and Butanes Export Volumes to U.S. by Region

The map shows the Petroleum Administration for Defense Districts (PADDs) in the United States (U.S.) The PADDs cover the following regions: U.S. East Coast (PADD 1), U.S. Midwest (PADD 2), U.S. Gulf Coast (PADD 3), U.S. Rockies (PADD 4), and U.S. West Coast (PADD 5).

The U.S. is Canada’s largest export market for propane and butanes. In 2020, over 68% of propane and almost all exported butanes volumes went to the U.S., as volumes of propane to non-U.S. countries significantly increased. The bars in Figure 2 show monthly export volumes to each PADD. PADD 5, PADD 2, and PADD 1 receive the largest share of NGLs exported from Canada to the U.S.

The CER does not collect NGL export data beyond the first export destination. For example, if propane exports to PADD 3 are later exported to Mexico, this is reported to the CER as exports to PADD 3.

COVID-19 resulted in major changes to energy supply and demand in North America and globally. Propane exports to major markets such as the U.S. Midwest (PADD 2) and Gulf Coast (PADD 3) declined significantly, marking a notable reversal in the multi-year trend of export growth. Low propane prices early in the season caused sellers to put propane into storage rather than exporting it, in the hopes of higher prices in the winter of 2020/21.

Exports of propane to PADD 5 have grown in recent years because of higher exports to overseas markets. Canada’s marine propane exports have recently increased to help satisfy Asia’s rising propane demand. Exports of propane from Canada’s west coast have been growing since the startup of the 40 000 barrels per day (40 Mb/d) Altagas/Vopak’s Ridley Island Propane Export Terminal (RIPET) came into service in May 2019. Canadian propane is also exported from B.C. to the U.S. by rail for future export to Asia from Petrogas’ 30 000 barrels per day (30 Mb/d) marine terminal in Ferndale, Washington. B.C. is now the second largest exporting province for propane after Alberta.

Source and Description

Source: CER Commodity Tracking System Statistics as of 19 February 2021: Natural Gas Liquids – Propane and Butanes – Export Volume by Destination

Figure Description: This data description is in metric units.

Propane (monthly):
PADD 1: Exports to PADD 1 (U.S. East Coast) ranged from 40.6 thousand to 236.0 thousand cubic metres in 2020.
PADD 2: Exports to PADD 2 (U.S. Midwest) ranged from 85.2 thousand to 243.6 thousand cubic metres in 2020.
PADD 3: Exports to PADD 3 (U.S. Gulf Coast) ranged from from 0 to 49.8 thousand cubic metres in 2020.
PADD 4: Exports to PADD 4 (U.S. Rockies) ranged from from 16.0 thousand to 58.6 thousand cubic metres in 2020.
PADD 5: Exports to PADD 5 (U.S. West Coast) ranged from 122.2 thousand to 274.5 thousand cubic metres in 2020.

Butanes (monthly):
PADD 1: Exports to PADD 1 (U.S. East Coast) ranged from 3.6 thousand to 56.2 thousand cubic metres in 2020.
PADD 2: Exports to PADD 2 (U.S. Midwest) ranged from 17.7 thousand to 61.9 thousand cubic metres in 2020.
PADD 3: Exports to PADD 3 (U.S. Gulf Coast) ranged from 0 to 17.3 thousand cubic metres in 2020.
PADD 4: Exports to PADD 4 (U.S. Rockies) ranged from 0 to 12.9 thousand cubic metres in 2020.
PADD 5: Exports to PADD 5 (U.S. West Coast) ranged from 37.1 thousand to 189.5 thousand cubic metres in 2020.

Figure 3: Propane and Butanes Exports by Mode of Transportation

The majority of propane and butanes exports from Canada move by rail. Exports of propane by rail to the U.S. has increased since 2015 because of growing production and the construction of new rail loading capacity in Western Canada. Since the World Health Organization declared a pandemic on 11 March 2020, rail transportation of goods, including energy, on Canada’s two major rail networks, Canadian National Railway (CN) and Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) decreased, in line with slower economic activity and lower demand for energy due to COVID-19.

In 2019, Canada began exporting propane by marine vessels from terminals in British Columbia to new markets. In 2020, Canadian marine propane exports rose 78% compared to 2019, averaging 39 Mb/d. 27% of Canadian propane exports moved by ship in 2020. All shipments went to Asia, with most delivered to Japan.

Source and Description

Source: CER Commodity Tracking System Statistics as of 19 February 2021: Natural Gas Liquids – Propane and Butanes – Export Volume by Transport Mode

Figure Description: This data description is in metric units.

In 2020, propane exported by rail was 5.9 million cubic metres, by marine vessels was 2.3 million cubic metres, by pipeline was 0.8 million cubic metres, and by truck was 0.4 million cubic metres. Butanes exported by rail was 1.8 million cubic metres, by pipeline was 0.2 million cubic metres, and by truck was 0.05 million cubic metres.

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