EIA: NGL prices down since early 2012

Daily spot prices for natural gas liquids, including ethane, propane, normal butane, isobutane, and natural gasoline, have moderated since early 2012, according to US Energy Information Administration. The moderation in NGL prices was attributed to “a combination of ample supply, flat or moderating demand, export constraints, and domestic infrastructure constraints,” EIA said.

Ethane prices averaged 27¢/gal in this year’s first half, down more than 45% from the first 6 months of 2012. Net ethane production was down 9% through April vs. the same period in 2012, due to low ethane prices and the corresponding “ethane rejection” phenomenon in gas processing. The US does not currently export any ethane.

Propane spot prices have been relatively flat since July 2012, averaging at about 89¢/gal for second-half 2012 as well as this year’s first half. Propane exports, primarily going to Latin America, are up 42% in this year’s first 4 months vs. the same period last year. The increase in exports mitigated the downward price effect bought by production, which was up 8% through April this year vs. the first four months of 2012.

Normal butane and isobutene spot prices were down 22% and 23%, respectively, in this year’s first half compared with first-half 2012, due to lower-than-usual gasoline demand. Production levels of both products were up 9% and 12%, respectively, for this year’s first 4 months compared with the same period in 2012.

Natural gasoline prices averaged $2.14/gal in this year’s first half, down 8% from $2.34/gal in the same period last year. Production is up 8% so far compared with first-half 2012.

Contact Conglin Xu at conglinx@ogjonline.com.

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