IHS International: US poised to lead world exports of LPG

US shale gas development has the country poised to become a major global supplier of LPG, mainly to Asia, during 2015-20 with US exports outdistancing other global suppliers by the end of the forecast period.

By 2020, the US could be exporting as much as 0.8 million b/d of LPG, exceeding all other suppliers, according to IHS Senior Director of NGL Research Walt Hart in his opening address to the IHS International LPG Seminar in Houston on Mar. 24.

US growth in waterborne LPG exports through 2013, said Hart, had reached about 0.3 million b/d, more than or equal to major exporters Saudi Arabia and UAE but still less than leader Qatar.

Asian demand by 2020, he said, will reach nearly 1.8 million b/d, from more than 1.2 million b/d last year, a projected growth of about 8.5%/year. Hart expects most of that growth to be in Northeast Asia, which includes China. Demand in the region will reach nearly 1.1 million b/d in 2020, outpacing demand growth for Southeast China and the Indian subcontinent.

Global production of LPG for both domestic use and exports will reach more than 10 million b/d by 2020, from about 8.5 million b/d in 2013, said Hart. Production growth will be strongest in North America, Asia, and the Middle East. Supply growth from nonassociated gas will outstrip growth in LPG derived from associated gas and refining, IHS data show.

Hart said projected supply growth among Middle East countries represents a “wild card,” including as it does uncertainties around production from Iran and Iraq. Similar uncertainty surrounds LPG production in the countries of the Confederation of Independent States, mainly Russia.

Contact Warren R. True at warrent@ogjonline.com.

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