NEW YORK Feb 6 The National Propane Gas
Association asked the federal energy regulator on Thursday to
order more supplies of the heating fuel, via a Enterprise
Product Partners pipeline, due to shortages in the
freezing Northeast and Midwest.
In a notice, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said
the association had asked it to use its emergency powers to
order Enterprise to suspend an 81,000 barrel per day (bpd)
supply of diluent and instead supply 75,000 bpd of propane along
its TE Products pipeline running from the Gulf Coast to the
It asked for the service to start immediately until the end
of the first week of March, according to the filing.
"NPGA submits that due to unique weather and other
circumstances beyond the control of shippers, propane supplies
throughout the country, particularly the Midwest and Northeast,
have reached dangerously low levels," the FERC notice said.
Millions in the upper Midwestern states such as Wisconsin
and Michigan suffered from the shortage as brutally cold weather
gripped the region in the last two weeks of January. Supplies
were rationed and prices jumped to record highs.
The price of propane at the Conway, Kansas, storage hub
heading north rose to $5 a gallon from a pre-shortage level of
about $1.75. But these prices have returned to below $2 in
recent days, suggesting supply is more readily available.
Enterprise did not immediately respond to calls and emails
for comment. It said previously, however, that batches of
propane along the TE Products line had been prioritized,
allowing them to get to the Northeast sooner.
The NPGA also wanted Enterprise, one of the biggest shippers
of propane in the country, to reverse the flow of its ATEX
pipeline, "if necessary", to supplement supplies.
Enterprise had only last year began services on this system,
carrying ethane from the Marcellus and Utica shale formations in
the Northeast, south to the U.S. Gulf Coast petrochemical
Part of the ATEX project included reversing a twin TE
Products pipeline that had been disputed by distillates
suppliers in court and which, according to propane suppliers,
had also carried the heating fuel, from south to north.
The NPGA represents some 3,200 propane industry companies
including suppliers and marketeers of the fuel.