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Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted March 25, 2014

U.S. to Become Top LNG Exporter, Experts Say

Fuel HOUSTON — The U.S. is poised to become the top exporter of liquefied petroleum gas — more commonly known as propane or butane — within just a few years, officials with research analyst IHS said Monday.

By the 2020s, the U.S. likely will displace top LPG exporters including Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, said IHS Senior Director Walt Hart, during the IHS International LPG Seminar in Houston. The domestic supply of propane and butane is on the rise, produced along with the booming output of U.S. shale gas. But the domestic market for propane and butane is relatively flat, several experts said.

That’s not the case abroad. While most U.S. LPG exports go to Latin America today, a growing portion likely will go to Asia as demand there rises, in part due to its use as a fuel source for heating and cooking but also because of its role as a feedstock for the manufacture of petrochemicals.

Chuck Carr, a senior director at IHS, said China is increasing production of propane dehydrogenation units, equipment designed to convert propane into propylene, a component used to make plastics.  Meanwhile, the expansion of the Panama Canal could help facilitate exports of LPG to Asia.

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Mark Green joined API after a career in newspaper journalism, including 16 years as national editorial writer for The Oklahoman in the paper’s Washington bureau. Mark also was a reporter, copy editor and sports editor. He earned his journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma and master’s in journalism and public affairs from American University. He and his wife Pamela live in Occoquan, Va., where they enjoy their four grandchildren.