Oil & Energy Focuses on Propane Supply

Propane marketers across New England and the upper Midwest would like to avoid a repeat of the challenges they faced last winter, when a surge in seasonal demand exposed gaps in the supply chain. Companies had to pay more for product, and drivers had to work long hours to keep customers warm when the polar vortex blanketed the northern United States with frigid cold for weeks on end.

The print edition of Oil & Energy is focusing on propane supply in both the September and October issues, with in-depth articles on infrastructure and marketer strategies. In September, we feature an interview with Tom Van Buren, of Ferrell North America, who chairs a National Propane Gas Association (NPGA) task force that is developing an action plan to address supply and infrastructure challenges. He explains how vulnerabilities developed in the supply chain and discusses NPGA’s strategy to support marketers and alleviate supply constraints. We also share the highlights of NPGA’s report to marketers on how to ensure their own winter supply.

For the October issue, we are taking a close look at Crestwood Midstream Partners’ effort to build a 2.1 billion barrel storage facility in the Finger Lakes region of New York State. The company’s plan to store propane and butane in underground salt caverns has been approved by the Army Corps of Engineers and a New York State geologist but still needs approval of the state Department of Environmental Conservation. Had the facility been online for last winter, the average propane customer might have paid $1 less per gallon for propane during 2014’s intense cold spell.

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