Market Snapshot: October 2023 propane inventories close to the five-year average, but winter weather projected to be mild

Connect/Contact Us

Energy Information RSS Feed

Please send comments, questions, or suggestions for Market Snapshot topics to

Release date: 2023-11-22

As of 1 October 2023, Canadian inventories of propane were 1,792 thousand cubic metres (10³m³) (11.3 million barrels [MMb]); slightly below the five-year (2018-2022) average and the level observed in October 2022.

Propane is a crucial energy resource for Canadians, it is important in the agricultural and petrochemical sectors, and serves as a heating fuel during winter. In North America, propane production is relatively steady from month to month, while demand peaks during the coldest months of the year. Propane inventories are essential to meet this peak winter demand. In Canada, the quantity of propane stored in underground caverns–located in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Windsor/Sarnia, Ontario–typically reaches its highest point in October/November before declining as monthly withdrawals from storage exceed injections into storage.Footnote 1

Figure 1: Underground Propane Inventories in Canada

Source and Description

Source: CER – Monthly Underground LPG Inventories

Description: This interactive seasonal line and area chart displays the beginning-of-month underground propane inventories in various regions: Western Canada, Ontario, and Canada as a whole. By using the 'Region' filter located in the center top you can view the inventory trends for the year 2022, as well as for 2023 (from January to October), the five-year range (2018-2022), and the corresponding five-year average. Additionally, the 'Unit' filter, available in the top right corner, allows you to switch between metric (10³m³) and imperial (MMb) units for data visualization.

In Canada, inventories reached a minimum of 493 10³m³ (3.1 MMb) in April 2023 and then rose to 1,792 10³m³ (11.3 MMb) by October 2023. The five-year average for October stands at 1,881 10³m³ (11.8 MMb).

In Western Canada, inventories reached a minimum of 267 10³m³ (1.7 MMb) in April 2023, and by October 2023, levels increased to 1,120 10³m³ (7.1 MMb). The five-year average for October is 1,164 10³m³ (7.3 MMb).

In Ontario, inventories reached a low of 226 10³m³ (1.4 MMb) in April 2023, and have subsequently increased to 672 10³m³ (4.2 MMb) in October 2023. The five-year average for October is 717 10³m³ (4.5 MMb).

Regionally, underground propane storage in Western Canada were at 1,120 10³m³ (7.0 MMb), with Ontario storing 672 10³m³ (4.2 MMb) as of 1 October 2023. Western Canada inventories were slightly below the five-year average of 1,164 10³m³ (7.3 MMb), while Ontario inventories were also slightly below the five-year average of 717 10³m³ (4.5 MMb).

Propane demand is influenced by seasonal factors. Extreme cold weather and increased agricultural demand can lead to rapid depletion of propane inventories, causing higher prices during the heating season. Conversely, warmer weather during the heating season and favorable harvest conditions can help maintain ample propane inventories, lowering prices throughout the winter, and leaving a potential surplus into the summer.

Canadian propane production from gas plants has been increasing in recent years, underpinned by growing gas production in Alberta and British Columbia. In August 2023, propane production was 47.5 10³m³ (299 thousand barrels per day [Mb/d]), almost 6% above August last year. Propane exports have also been growing, averaging 31.3 10³m³ (197 Mb/d) in the first eight months of 2023, a 4% increase over the same period last year.

Recent winter temperature outlooks from Environment and Climate Change CanadaFootnote 2 and the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric AdministrationFootnote 3 project milder winter weather, influenced by El Niño,Footnote 4 which might ease pressure on propane demand and inventory withdrawals this year. In addition, ample U.S. propane supply stemming from growing U.S. gas production has put U.S. propane inventories, in particular in the U.S. Midwest, well above the five-year average. With the U.S. crop drying demand for propane almost over and a forecast of a warmer winter, the U.S. propane market also looks well supplied ahead of this winter.

Date modified: