Where Does Propane Come From?
A unique feature of propane is that it is not produced for its own sake, but 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 to prevent these liquids from condensing and causing operational problems in natural gas pipelines. Similarly, when oil refineries make major products such as motor gasoline and heating oil, some propane is produced as a by-product of those processes.
It is important to understand that the by-pro- duct nature of propane production means that the volume made available from natural gas processing and oil refining cannot be adjusted when prices and/or demand for propane fluctuate.
In addition to these two processes, demand is met by imports of propane and by using stored inventories. Although imports provide the smallest (about 10 percent) component of U.S. propane supply, they are vital when consumption exceeds available domestic supplies of propane.
Propane is imported by land (via pipeline and rail car from Canada) and by sea (in tankers from such countries as Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Norway, and the United Kingdom).
What Is Propane Gas Used For?
As stated above, the versatility of propane makes it a favorable option for many businesses, and homeowners. Within your home, it can be used to heat your furnace, fuel a premium kitchen stovetop, power your appliances, and keep your water warm whenever you need it.
You’d be mistaken if you think the uses for propane end at the door. Outside the home, propane can heat your summer pool, fire up your BBQ grill, provide beautiful light fixtures for the front and back of your home, and fuel a backup generator that’ll always be on standby for the next big storm.
Business owners will also be surprised by how much propane can be used with minimal changes to their existing environments.
Local restaurant owners can utilize propane to fuel their kitchens and cook recipes with an accuracy that professionals prefer.
Warehouse operators can use propane for their forklifts, which will keep them running efficiently while lowering the amount of annual maintenance.
Builders can increase the value of their homes by outfitting them with propane appliances and use space heaters to make sure their workers can still work comfortably year-round.
Commercial companies with automotive fleets both big and small, can outfit their vehicles to run on propane autogas.
Farmers can also integrate propane with many of their machines, using it to power combines, crop dryers, and more.
Are Propane and Butane Interchangeable?
While propane and butane are both produced similarly from natural gas processing, they have some distinct differences that set them apart. Propane has a lower boiling point than butane, which means that it’s better to use in colder temperatures. It also exerts more pressure at the same temperature as butane, so it’s more ideal for storage and use in a wide range of environments.
Can Propane Tanks Explode?
It is extremely rare for propane tanks to explode, and often when they do, it can be attributed to leaked gas being exposed to high temperatures or fire rather than the tank itself.
We prioritize the safety of our technicians and customers at ThompsonGas and have various resources available to keep you and your family safe in the event of any leak.