New Rockies, shale NGLs prompt fractionator at Mt. Belvieu

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, Aug. 12
-- Enterprise Products Partners LP announced recently plans to build a 75,000-b/d NGL fractionator at its Mont Belvieu, Tex., complex east of Houston. The unit will provide additional capacity to accommodate growing NGL volumes from producing areas in the Rockies, the Barnett shale, and the emerging Eagle Ford shale play in South Texas.

When completed in early 2011, the project will increase Enterprise’s NGL fractionation capacity at Mont Belvieu to about 300,000 b/d and net system-wide capacity to about 600,000 b/d.

Enterprise said the project is supported by long-term processing contracts and will be based on the design of its 75,000-b/d Hobbs fractionator in Gaines County, Tex., that started up in August 2007 (OGJ, June 18, 2007, p. 50; June 23, 2008, p. 50).

“Over the past 3 years,” said Jim Teague, Enterprise executive vice-president, “our NGL fractionation volumes have increased by 46% to a record 449,000 b/d in second-quarter 2009.

“Our NGL fractionators are operating at or near their practical limits and we have consistently contracted with third-party fractionators for additional capacity,” he said. With expected growth in NGL production and demand for NGLs by the petrochemical industry, “we have seen strong demand for NGL fractionation, storage, and distribution.”

The growing demand for fractionation services is indicated, he said, by the fact that Enterprise’s Hobbs plant has been operating at capacity since first-quarter 2008. In fact, “we have even been utilizing our fractionators in Louisiana to offload volumes that exceeded our available capacity at Mont Belvieu in order to satisfy customer demands.”

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