Enterprise starts Meeker II gas plant service

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, Mar. 12 -- Enterprise Products Partners LP reported the start of operations at its Meeker II natural gas processing plant in Colorado's Piceance basin.

The Meeker II expansion doubles the gas processing capacity at the Meeker complex to 1.5 bcfd with the capability to extract as much as 70,000 b/d of natural gas liquids (NGL).

Enterprise also has started operations at its recently expanded Shilling and Thompsonville gas processing plants in South Texas, and the company expects the partnership's relocated Chaparral facility in the Permian basin to begin processing gas later this month.

The Meeker complex is supported by long-term commitments from 10 of the largest producers in the Piceance basin. Current inlet volume at Meeker is 750 MMcfd, with 38,000 b/d of NGL being extracted. Gas volumes are projected to reach 1.1 bcfd by yearend, when NGL production is expected to reach 60,000 b/d.

"This expansion will facilitate the continuing growth in natural gas production from the Piceance basin that is expected in 2009 and 2010 despite the effects of the recent decrease in drilling activity," said A.J. Teague, Enterprise executive vice-president and chief commercial officer.

Teague noted that, based on producer estimates, there are more than 300 wells that have been completed in the basin that are waiting for pipeline connections. Meeker, through its connection with the White River natural gas hub, affords producers access to markets through connections with six interstate pipelines having 2.5 bcfd of total takeaway capacity, he said.

The Chaparral facility was an idle plant acquired in 2004 in the merger with GulfTerra Energy Partners LP and recently relocated from southeast Texas to serve producers in the Permian basin. The facility, which can handle as much as 40 MMcfd of gas and extract more than 2,000 b/d of NGL, complements the partnership's 900-mile Carlsbad gathering system in southeast New Mexico.

New pipeline
As part of the project, Enterprise constructed a 13 miles of 4-in. NGL pipeline. It links the processing plant to Teppco Partners LP's Chaparral pipeline, which transports NGL to the world's largest fractionation complex at Mont Belvieu, Tex.

Expansion projects also have been completed and placed into service at two gas processing facilities that are part of Enterprise's South Texas system. At the Shilling plant in Webb County, capacity has been increased to 110 MMcfd from 60 MMcfd as part of a project relocating equipment from idle plants and modifying existing infrastructure.

The partnership also modified existing equipment rather than building new systems to expand its Thompsonville gas processing plant in Jim Hogg County. Repiping and other efforts designed to enhance efficiency increased capacity at the facility to 330 MMcfd from 300 MMcfd while maintaining ethane and propane recovery percentages.

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