DCP Midstream to Import Propane from Europe for Chesapeake Region

DCP’s import terminal on the East Coast will supply propane customers in the Chesapeake region. Photo courtesy of DCP.

This, for us, is a “man bites dog” kind of story. Something unexpected and unusual. The Marcellus/Utica region produces an abundance of methane (i.e. natural gas). However, when methane comes out of the ground, other hydrocarbons come out of the ground too–so-called natural gas liquids (NGLs) like ethane, propane, butane, etc. So we not only produce a boatload of methane, we also produce a lot of those other hydrocarbons too. In fact, there is and has been a plan on the boards for years to build a propane storage facility along the shores of Seneca Lake in New York to handle northeast propane production (see today’s story, Crestwood Sells Salt Operation in Watkins Glen, Keeps LPG Storage). So imagine our surprise to read a story about DCP Midstream, which operates an NGL export terminal in Chesapeake, Virginia, plans to use that terminal during the slow winter months to *import* propane–from places like Europe. Really?! You can’t get it from the Marcellus/Utica? Or ship it in from the Gulf Coast? DCT says some of its customers in “the Chesapeake region” want more propane, and DCT aims to deliver by shipping it all the way from another continent…

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