EIA NGL natural gas plant production statistics were posted on Wednesday and showed something we have not seen for a few months – a decline in volume. It was not a huge decline. And with the price of Conway ethane in the dog house over the past three months, it was not unexpected. But given the importance of NGLs to both the natural gas and petrochemicals industries these days, it definitely warrants a careful examination of the numbers. We can expect to see this trend to accelerate over the next few months.
The two graphs below show total NGL production through March 2012. On the left, total gas plant production of NGLs has soared from 1.7 MMb/d in January 2009 to 2,388 MB/d in February before dropping back to 2,375 Mb/d in March. That’s not much of a decline. But it is important to note that ethane and propane production dropped 25 Mb/d, offset by a 12 Mb/d increase in natural gasoline. The 25 Mb/d decline was split 2/3rds ethane and 1/3rd propane.
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