Inventories of natural gas liquids fell sharply in November 2016, as increased use of butane in winter gasoline blending accounted for the majority of the decline, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The agency also reported new data on rail movements between regions.
The average NGL barrel was priced at $21.02 on Nov. 30, 2016, compared to $23.07 on Oct. 31, 2016, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence.
Natural gas liquids
Inventories of natural gas liquids fell 9.87 MMbbl in November 2016 from the previous month to reach 234.63 MMbbl, according to "Supply and Disposition" data from the EIA published on Jan. 31. Despite the monthly decline, inventories were 17.62 MMbbl above the same month a year earlier.
Compared to the five-year average, the inventory surplus in November 2016 increased to a record 58.65 MMbbl and compared to 55.26 MMbbl in the prior month. The previous record was 57.56 MMbbl and was reached in August 2016.
NGL production from natural gas plants added 57 Mbbl/d to the prior month to reach a pace of 3.60 MMbbl/d. The level was 100 Mbbl/d above the same month a year earlier. With refineries included, total NGL production in November 2016 fell 73 Mbbl/d from the prior month to 3.92 MMbbl/d.
Demand for NGLs fell 54 Mbbl/d from the previous month to 2.49 MMbbl/d and held below the record high of 2.99 MMbbl/d set in January 2014.
Inventories of propane and propylene fell by 1.18 MMbbl to 100.91 MMbbl in November 2016. They were 3.50 MMbbl below the same month a year earlier. The peak reached during the fall 2016 season was 103.83 MMbbl in September 2016, which fell short of the record high of 104.55 MMbbl reached nearly a year earlier in October 2015.
Inventories were 26.28 MMbbl above the five-year average, compared to 25.50 MMbbl above it in the previous month and the record 38.42 MMbbl above the five-year average set in November 2015.
Increased demand was a factor in pushing inventories lower, with demand gaining 69 Mbbl/d to reach 1.12 MMbbl/d in November 2016.
Production gained 50 Mbbl/d sequentially thanks to help from refineries and was 1.77 MMbbl/d in November 2016. Output from natural gas plants increased 16 Mbbl/d on the month to reach 1.18 MMbbl/d.
Exports fell 13 Mbbl/d on the month to reach 849 Mbbl/d, and held short of the record 894 Mbbl/d set in May 2016.
Inventories of butane declined 12.23 MMbbl sequentially and was down 3.88 MMbbl from a year ago to reach 45.01 MMbbl in November 2016.
Refinery and blender inputs increased 52 Mbbl/d from the previous month to reach 324 Mbbl/d, as refineries use more of the commodity in production of winter grade gasoline.
Exports of butane gained 42 Mbbl/d to reach a record 152 Mbbl/d. The previous record was 148 Mbbl/d set in May 2016.
Ethane stocks rose 3.41 MMbbl to reach a new record of 55.21 MMbbl. The previous record was 52.94 MMbbl set in July 2016. Inventories were up 20.87 MMbbl from the same month a year earlier.
Ethane recoveries have been increasing recently, and production gained 49 Mbbl/d in November 2016 to reach 1.35 MMbbl/d. The record was 1.38 MMbbl/d set in June 2016.
Exports were unchanged at 91 Mbbl/d and held below the record 116 Mbbl/d set in September 2016.
New rail data included
The EIA added new data on rail movements of hydrocarbon gas liquids in order to provide "more complete data on inter-PADD movements of HGLs."
The figures showed that propane movements between Petroleum Administration for Defense Districts were concentrated in the Midwest, with 647 Mbbl moving from PADD 2 to PADD 1 and 684 Mbbl moving from PADD 2 to PADD 3.
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