According to the article, the loss of the Cochin pipeline, which carries 40 percent of Minnesota’s propane, is leaving the propane industry scrambling to find a way to get the fuel to more than 230,000 homes, farms and businesses that depend on it as their main source of fuel.
Pipeline operator Kinder Morgan plans to stop propane shipments from Canada in April on the 1,900-mile pipeline. The pipeline passes through Minnesota and has delivered propane to terminals in Benson and the Mankato area for 35 years. Because Canada has produced less propane to ship down the pipeline in recent years, owners are reversing its direction and using it to ship petroleum condensate for use in Canada’s booming oil industry.
To combat the issue, propane suppliers are building or converting fuel terminals to accept deliveries by train instead of by pipeline, expanding propane storage, leasing more tankers and adapting other ways to manage a more-complicated supply chain. In November, 40 propane executives met with Minnesota Gov Mark Dayton to discuss how the private sector plans to respond to the problem.
Minnesota Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman, who attended the meeting, called the problem a “high-priority issue.”
With the pipeline change, many propane haulers are looking to trucks and trains to pick up more of the hauling duties. Trains, however, come with delays the pipeline did not.
“It won’t be a cakewalk to get through the winter, but I think the industry will be geared up and ready for it,” Roger Leider, executive director of the Minnesota Propane Association said.