The price of the hypothetical NGL barrel at Mont Belvieu, Texas, shot up 6.7% in the five-day week ending before Independence Day to nearly $36, once more reaching a level not seen since October 2014 in the midst of the commodity price collapse that saw a 50% plunge in the last six months of the year.
Propane and normal butane also experienced hefty upticks at both Mont Belvieu and at Conway, Kan. Propane was up 10.4% at Mont Belvieu and 10.3% at Conway, although the price spread between the two hubs was almost 22 cents per gallon (gal). The price spread for butane was 26.31 cents/gal. At Mont Belvieu, butane passed $1/gal for only the third time this year to set a high for 2018.
The margin differential for propane was about 20.5 cents/gal in Mont Belvieu’s favor. There is typically a premium to Mont Belvieu prices because Gulf Coast demand for petrochemical feedstocks and exports far exceeds mostly seasonal demand for propane in the residential, commercial and agricultural sectors of the Midwest, RBN Energy LLC said in a July 2 report. There is also the cost of transport barrels the distance between the hubs, or 700 miles.