US PROPANE: MIDYEAR 2010: Mont Belvieu prices remain soft; ethane bites into feedstock demand

Dan LippePetral Worldwide Inc.HoustonDuring spring and summer 2010, three trends dominated propane markets in North America.First, prices in Mont Belvieu remained well below parity compared with benchmark prices posted by primary international suppliers and a sustained flow of waterborne exports moved from export terminals in the Houston Ship Channel to various international destinations. At the same time, for the second year, Gulf Coast terminals received zero waterborne imports.Second, ethane maintained a very high share of fresh feed in the Gulf Coast ethylene feedstock market and feedstock demand for propane was consistently weaker than historic averages. If feedstock demand had incre...

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