And, again, a reminder that Hillary Clinton has announced that she will do to fracking what President Obama has done to coal.
From the linked article:
The U.S. is exporting record volumes of propane, another way in which the shale boom has made the nation a more dominant force in the global energy trade.
Foreign sales are surging as U.S. producers capitalize on higher prices overseas. That in turn is causing U.S. prices to rise, making Fourth of July barbecues a bit more expensive than cookouts a few months ago.
In a first, U.S. oil-and-gas companies are on track this year to export more propane than the next four largest exporting countries combined—OPEC members Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Algeria and Nigeria, which have long dominated the trade.
U.S. exports already account for more than a third of the overall market for waterborne shipments.
Propane exports hit an all-time high of 884,000 barrels a day in February. Platts Analytic projects that a new record was set in May, for which government data isn’t yet available. The exports have been enabled by a new network of pipelines, shipping terminals and tankers that doubled capacity from a year ago.
After the shale boom made propane more plentiful, exports became a widely sought solution because it is much easier to bottle and ship than other fuels. About half of all U.S. exports wind up in Latin America, while the rest goes to northwest Europe and Asian markets. In 2013, the U.S. overtook Qatar as the world’s top propane shipper.According to the article, propane is a by-product of natural-gas drilling and refining of crude oil.
And get this, another reference to the Panama Canal expansion:
The dominant U.S. position could benefit further from the expansion of the Panama Canal, which in June completed a $5.4 billion upgrade. That project allows the large ships transporting propane to make faster and cheaper trips to big Asian markets like Japan, China and South Korea.
All this is a welcome development for U.S. oil-and-gas drillers stung by a rout in commodity prices that has led to dozens of bankruptcies. The fuel came up from shale in such overwhelming supply that producers sometimes had to pay customers to take it off their hands.
Now, investors are betting prices will continue to climb. Propane producers and shippers are among the top performing stocks this year.But, of course, a downside:
Some analysts warn that pipeline owners and shippers may have already overbuilt and will have to lower the rates they charge to win business.
Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co. called the expanding export infrastructure business “a little like youth basketball, lots of participation trophies but fewer winners.”
Already daily shipping rates have plummeted to as little as $20,000, down from the $120,000 or so it cost last summer, as dozens of new tankers hit the water.And to think Hillary Clinton wants to ban fracking.