Where does propane come from?
Many people who do not have access to the natural gas network use propane daily. But where does it come from?
Treatment of natural gas and petroleum
A unique feature of propane is that is it not produced for its own sake, but it is a by-product of two other processes: natural gas processing and petroleum refining. Natural gas plant production of propane primarily involves extracting materials such as propane and butane from natural gas. Similarly, when oil refineries make major products such as moter gasoline and heating oil, some propane is produced as a by-product of those processes. It is important to understand that the by-product nature of propane production means that the volume made available from natural gas processing and oil refining cannot be adjusted when the prices and/or demand for propane fluctuates.
Transport in vessels
The supply from natural gas fields occurs primarily in vessels (large boats) in the liquid state. Many ports in Western Europe are equipped for gas imports. The vessel is coupled to the jetty, to unload the gas into huge storage tanks. (GFS NV - Terminal Ostend)
Distribution to the consumer
Big trucks with an average fuel capacity of 22,000 liters ensure the supply of propane from refineries or terminals to a local bulk plant. (GFS NV - Terminal Geraardsbergen) Depending on the country, the propane gas is distributed to the end user using trucks with an average capacity between 8,000 and 11,000 liters. The propane tanks are permanently installed on the property of the costumer. Other trucks ensure the exchange and distribution of propane gas cylinders.
Use of propane gas in your home
Propane has many uses: a fuel for furnaces and ovens in the kitchen, a source of energy for water heaters, clothes dryers, portable stoves, ... Check out the versatility of propane here.