It’s a bit like trying to find a red bus on London’s Oxford Street when you really need one, just when the market could have done with a few extra LPG cargoes appearing from the U.S. Gulf, as well as more clarity on when new midstream and export expansion capacity was about to arrive, nothing much happened, but the clock keeps ticking, and with the blink of an eye we will be seeing in the New Year, 2020. It looks to me as if all those red buses are going to arrive pretty much all at once, but will we have enough passengers, or in our world, NGL production, to fill the bus up.
Do you think there’s a chance we might be saying to ourselves next year that “too many cooks spoilt the broth”? I think there’s a pretty good chance we will, especially if the main protagonists, in the U.S. Gulf’s 2020 LPG export trade, have to resort to competing with each other for a greater share of the export pie. The simple facts are that we are going to see a significant increase in fractionation capacity, an increase in export capacity along the U.S. Gulf coast, and an inflow of NGLs from the Permian Basin, aren’t we?
Yesterday I was in my comfort zone, the market action was clearly at the front of the curve, where some real time world LPG supply issues were having a significant influence on demand decisions in Asia, as we enter that winter run-in, just like the old days. Middle East LPG exports in October down, down from Saudi Arabia and right down out of Iran. U.S. Gulf exports at no change, despite being told we were supposed to be getting a 15% increase in export slots late third quarter.