EIA expects higher propane consumption in the US this winter, especially in the Midwest – Today in Energy

Propane demand for grain drying is expected to decline this year as the U.S. Department of Agriculture predicts the U.S. corn crop will ripen early (in September or October), allowing growers to leave the crop to dry in the field instead of allowing propane use commercial grain dryers. In the past 10 years, the largest propane demand was in October 2013, when consumption in the Midwest hit 408,000 barrels per day (b / d), 60% more than the 10-year average as the corn harvest was late in the season took place and the moisture content of the grain was high. November consumption peaked in 2019 at an average of 381,000 barrels per day, which was about 30% above the 10-year average due to a late harvest. Propane consumption is highly dependent on the season and two thirds of the annual consumption occurs during the winter heating season (October to March), as the peak demand exists for both residential heating and the drying of agricultural grain. Agricultural demand for grain drying occurs early in the heating season, usually October or November, but can fluctuate from year to year.

Midwestern propane demand during the last winter heating season has hit a new low compared to the 10 year range due to the warmer weather. The current forecast by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts relatively normal temperatures for this winter in the Midwest, which increases our expectations for higher propane consumption this winter compared to last winter. The Midwest has the highest proportion of propane-heated homes in the country. Although propane is used as the primary heating fuel in 4.3% of all US households, it can exceed 10% in some of the northern states of the Midwest, such as Minnesota and Wisconsin, where heating needs are greatest.

Main authors: Warren Wilczewski, Josh Eiermann

Demand from the petrochemical industry, which also uses propane as a raw material, is also expected to increase over the previous year. We therefore expect an average propane consumption of 1.1 million barrels per day for this winter heating season, 1.5% above the 10-year average and 36,000 barrels per day over the last winter.

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