Q&A with Bill Lawson
Williams hopes export project can cash in on petroleum boom
Q: Williams recently announced its plan to pursue a project to export liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). What spurred that decision?
A: The Moss Lake LPG Terminal is one piece of a larger infrastructure initiative between Williams and Boardwalk Pipeline Partners L.P. to move natural gas liquids (NGLs) on the proposed Bluegrass Pipeline from the Marcellus and Utica producing areas to the petrochemical complex on the U.S. Gulf Coast and markets at points in between. The addition of the export terminal in the Lake Charles, La., area gives customers the option to move LPG (propane and butane) by tanker ships to overseas markets.
Q: What kind of market is there for LPG in the United States?
A: Due to the increase in natural gas liquids supplies as a result of the shale gas boom, current demand for propane and butane in the United States is being met. Propane and butane are primarily used in the United States for heating, petrochemicals, feedstock, or motor fuels. Therefore, excess propane and butane are available to be exported to international markets. Today, prices for propane and butane are stronger in Asian, Latin American and European markets. Propane and butane constitute approximately 30 percent of the liquids in an average NGL barrel. The other components in an NGL barrel — ethane, isobutane, and natural gasoline — are expected to continue serving demand among U.S. industries, manufacturers and refineries.