You probably haven’t heard about it—but there’s a potential bull market brewing in propane.
At the risk of sounding like Hank Hill—the market for this natural gas liquid has been one of the most exciting stories of the last several weeks. As the chart below shows, propane prices at the Mont Belvieu, Texas hub have been on a tear—rising as much as 46% since June to an eighteen-month high.
The reason is exports. Weekly American shipments of propane abroad have jumped as much as 87% since April.
Propane’s surge shows us that energy markets outside of North America are increasingly becoming the driving force for what happens to pricing—both in the U.S. and globally.
The biggest factor being the Asian markets. Just look at natural gas. The most significant efforts in the North American energy sector today are being put into LNG export projects, designed to get U.S. (and Canadian) gas to high-paying markets in Japan, China and Korea.
Ditto coal. Producers see Asia as the destination of choice—with the world’s two largest coal-consuming nations, China and India, located here. This is driving the development of Pacific coal export infrastructure aimed at accessing these markets.
In short, what happens in Asia is critical to every energy investment on the planet. And be it natgas, oil or coal, the Asian energy scene is quickly changing—over the last several weeks, we’ve seen a number of key developments here. They might not be front-page news today—but, like the propane story, they will be soon.
Below we map out the most important currents now swirling in Asian energy markets, and highlight some of the recent news that’s going to shape the course of events—both locally and globally.
A – The Myanmar-Yunnan pipeline
China National Petroleum Company last week commissioned this massive 2,500 kilometer pipeline project across Myanmar and into southwest Yunnan province. The line is designed to bring over one billion cubic feet of gas per day into China, from Myanmar’s large offshore fields. The line also features a twin oil pipeline that will be used to transport offloaded tanker oil overland into China. Once operational, this line is expected to provide 440,000 barrels per day of supply.
B – Middle East exports to Asia
One of the most perilous parts of shipping crude from…