Prices for natural gas liquids started high, but end the year down in 2012. (photo courtesy of U.S. Energy Information Administration)
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the expected rise in the price of natural gas liquds may still be far off. Natural gas liquids- among which are ethane, propane, normal butane, isobutane, and natural gasoline - saw a decrease in value in 2012; yet another indicator of the unpredictable drilling boom that has recently hit the U.S.
"Because of elevated levels of wet natural gas production and the warm winter of 2011, propane stocks were high and prices were near multiyear lows by mid-year 2012," said the EIA, who charts the sporadic rise and fall of gas prices.
Though prices were generlly down in 2012, each natural gas liquid saw its own unique change in price. Propane dropped almost 32% percent below it's 2011 cost, while ethane dropped nearly 48 percent below its 2011 price. Other natural gas liquids saw less of a drop in 2012, with normal butane dropping just five percent, isobutane dropping 12 percent, and natural gasoline dropping seven percent.
While the prices of natural gas liquids may be down for now, the EIA expects a steady rise in natural gas prices, "continuing to go up to $5 or $6 in the longer term," according to EIA administrator Adam Sieminski.