Seaborne LPG trade is expected to continue rising, fuelled by increasing exports from the United States and Algeria as well as growing Asian demand.
Speaking on the second day of IHS Asia LPG Seminar in Singapore on 17 June, IHS Waterborne Energy senior director Scott Gray said that global LPG shipments are expected to hit 74.3 million tonnes in 2015, up from 62.488 million tonnes in 2013 and 72.818 million tonnes in 2014.
“There is no doubt in my mind that we will see growth this year,” said Gray.
Year to date, shipments have totalled 25.6 million tonnes.
US exports are estimated to hit 22 million tonnes in 2015, up from 14 million tonnes in 2014, a trend Gray attributed to exporters’ efforts to upgrade terminals to accommodate more VLGCs that are the main workhorses of seaborne LPG trade.
Algerian exports are also estimated to exceed the 8 million tonnes seen in 2014.
Asia will be a key destination for LPG imports and Chinese propane dehydrogenation (PDH) plants will feed the demand. The plants use propane to produce propylene.
Another speaker at the IHS event, Fornax Chemical analyst Fiona Zhu, said China could import 10 million tonnes of LPG in 2015.
Fornax is a propane trader and supplies the feedstock to Zhejiang Shaoxing Sanyuan Petrochemical’s PDH plant.
“In 2013, China imported 4.21 million tonnes of LPG. That almost doubled to 7.1 million tonnes in 2014. Two more PDH plants will be coming online this year. After more and more PDH plants come online, we will see more trading entities and more trading volumes based on paper and physical trading,” Zhu pointed out.