Do you use propane in your southwestern Virginia home, or maybe you use it in your BBQ grill? You may have wondered where propane comes from, and how it gets to you. We’ve collected some information about propane so you’ll better understand this versatile, clean, and green energy source.
Propane is also known as liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). Chemist Walter O. Snelling first identified propane in 1910 while investigating gasoline evaporation and storage. He discovered that several evaporating gases in gasoline could be converted into liquids, with propane being the most plentiful of those gases.
Snelling went on to create a method to bottle the liquid gas. That was the beginning of the propane industry. He held the patent for propane until 1913, when he sold it to Frank Phillips, the founder of Phillips Petroleum, for $50,000. That’s about $1.3 million in today’s money.
Close to 90% of the domestic propane supply is created from natural gas processing in the United States and Canada. Liquid components from the processing of natural gas — propane, butane, methane, and ethane — are extracted. Once the propane production is complete, the propane is sent to bulk distribution centers by pipelines, tanker ships, trains, trucks, and barges. From there, distributers send it to local propane suppliers like Midway Gas, and we deliver it to you!
With increasing domestic propane production, the propane supply here is so plentiful that the United States has become a net exporter of propane. That abundance also provides security in our propane supply, regardless of what happens in other countries or in the global oil markets.
Propane is clean-burning and energy-efficient, which helps you save money on your energy bills while creating less wear on your propane appliances, so you can use them longer.
Finally, propane creates much fewer greenhouse gas emissions than other traditional fuels, so you’re doing better for the environment both here in southwestern Virginia and around the world.