Market Snapshot: Canadian propane exports growing and heading further west

Release date: 2016-09-21

Canadian propane exports to the United States (U.S.) have grown from 80.9 thousand barrels per day (Mb/d) in 2010 to 112.5 Mb/d in 2015, an unexpected trend considering that U.S. propane production has grown from roughly 900 Mb/d to 1 400 Mb/d over the same time frame.Footnote 1 This trend of growing Canadian exports has continued in 2016, with Canadian exports to the U.S. from January to June averaging 117.2 Mb/d.

Canadian propane exports to the U.S. West Coast (PADD VFootnote 2) have increased most significantly. Since 2010, exports to PADD V have increased from 11.4 Mb/d (or 14% of total Canadian exports) to 27.2 Mb/d (or 24% of total Canadian exports) in 2015. This volume and percentage of Canadian exports has grown further in 2016, with exports between January and June growing to 38.1 Mb/d (or 32% of total Canadian exports). The Midwest (PADD II) remains the largest destination for Canadian propane exports, receiving 49.0 Mb/d (or 42% of total Canadian exports) in 2016.

Source and Description

Source: NEB – Propane Export Volumes by PADD

Description: This stacked bar chart illustrates propane exports from Canada to the five Petroleum Administration for Defense Districts, or PADDs, in the U.S. from 2010 to the first six months of 2016. Total exports have increased from 80.9 Mb/d in 2010 to 117.2 Mb/d in 2016 (January to June). The three main regions where propane is exported to are the Midwest (PADD II), the West Coast (PADD V), and the East Coast (PADD I). Exports to these regions in 2016 were 49.0 Mb/d, 38.1 Mb/d, and 22.5 Mb/d, respectively.

PADD V export volumes have increased from 11.4 Mb/d in 2010 to 27.2 Mb/d in 2015. This trend has continued in 2016, with January to June exports to PADD V growing to 38.1 Mb/d.

* 2016 volumes are calculated using data from January to June.

PADD V is home to the overseas export terminal for propane closest to Canada, the Petrogas facility in Ferndale, Washington. Ferndale currently has an export capacity of 35 Mb/d for propane and butane, and is currently exporting an average of 18 Mb/d of propane to the Asia-Pacific market, most of which is Canadian-sourced.Footnote 3

Though still small in volume, Canadian exports to the U.S. Gulf Coast (PADD III) have increased the most on a percentage basis in recent years, growing from 200 barrels per day in 2010 to 2.6 Mb/d to 2015. PADD III has the largest overseas export capacity for propane in North America.

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