WINTER PROPANE SUPPLY EXPECTED TO HOLD ITS OWN AGAINST DEMAND

WINTER PROPANE SUPPLY EXPECTED TO HOLD ITS OWN AGAINST DEMAND

Propane supplies look better this year than a year ago, a U.S energy director said recently.

"The propane supply is in better shape," said Charles C. Heath, director of the Petroleum Supply Division of the Energy Information Administration (EIA) of the Department of Energy in Washington.The EIA's Winter Fuels Report, dated Oct. 15, 1993, said "the combination of adequate pre-season inventories, high production levels and moderate net imports should provide a sufficient supply cushion to weather foreseeable circumstances over the coming heating season."

By Oct. 22, 1993, primary propane stock levels had reached more than 65.8 million barrels, recovering well from last year's record demand.

Close to 8 million homes use propane gas for heating, cooking and other household energy needs. It also is used extensively in agriculture and commerce, as an alternative fuel, and in the petrochemical industry.

The more optimistic propane supply outlook is in part due to the industry's continuing efforts to improve communication with government agencies, ensuring that resources for supply and distribution are effectively used.

A smaller corn crop in 1993 is another factor for a propane surplus.

Last year, a record crop of 9.48 billion bushels caused an extraordinary demand for propane crop drying. This year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture predicts a 22 percent drop in the nation's corn crop due to the flooding in the Midwest. As a result, the amount of propane needed for crop drying will be considerably less.

The EIA's Oct. 22, 1993, Winter Fuels Report said "propane inventories remain well above normal levels for this time of year." Industry and government officials will continue to monitor propane supplies throughout the United States.

Although officials do not foresee any problems, propane customers are encouraged to fill their propane tanks now for the winter season.