The upbeat vibe in the David L. Lawrence Convention Center was reflected in the past week’s 43-month high in the Mont Belvieu, Texas, ethane price. Looking ahead, though, domestic demand will not echo NGL production’s upward tilt. And it’s not just about ethane.

“The exports are growing, domestic demand is going down,” said Bernadette Johnson, vice president of market intelligence for Drillinginfo Inc., about her outlook for propane. “We’re growing supplies, and what does that mean? That puts even more pressure on the export piece and that’s because exports are key for LPG.”

Drillinginfo sees propane exports growing from 848,000 barrels per day (bbl/d) in 2018 to 1.155 million bbl/d in 2022. In that time, domestic use, which jumped from 350,000 bbl/d in 2017 to 457,000 bbl/d in 2018, will remain static at about 450,000 bbl in 2022.

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