Current and expected floods of natural gas liquids to the US Gulf Coast have prompted plans for yet more capacity at the nation’s main NGL fractionation center in southeast Texas.
Enterprise Products Partners LP, Houston, announced Mar. 20 plans to build two more NGL fractionators—Nos. 7 and 8—at Mont Belvieu, Tex., to add a combined 150,000 b/d of capacity. The company is in the process of obtaining necessary permits. Service at both plants is to begin in fourth-quarter 2013.
The two 75,000-b/d units, together with a sixth due to start up in this year’s fourth quarter, will allow EPP to fractionate more than 610,000 b/d at Mont Belvieu. The new units will “facilitate the continued growth of NGL production from various Rocky Mountain producing basins and the Eagle Ford shale play in South Texas,” it said.
A.J. Teague, executive vice-president and chief operating officer of EPP’s general partner, said when the fractionators start up, EPP will have more than doubled its fractionation capacity at Mont Belvieu in fewer than 3 years.
The fractionators will “help meet the Gulf Coast petrochemical industry’s appetite for ethane, which is at an all-time high and projected to increase as new construction projects, conversions, and expansions are completed.”
In the Eagle Ford shale, EPP is near to completing several infrastructure projects and is announcing expansions to deliver NGLs that will “underpin the increased fractionation capacity at Mont Belvieu,” the company said.
Specifically, the partnership has signed an agreement with Anadarko Energy Services that will support construction of a 173-mile extension of EPP’s recently completed 20-24-in. Eagle Ford NGL pipeline to Western Gas Partners LP’s gas processing plant in LaSalle County. The new NGL pipeline already links the Yoakum gas plant in Lavaca County, Tex., to Mont Belvieu and can carry up to 450,000 b/d of mixed NGL.
Through a connection with the new NGL pipeline near Falls City, Tex., the company’s seven other integrated South Texas processing plants will have access to markets served by Mont Belvieu. Consisting of 16-in. OD pipeline, the extension from LaSalle County will be able to move 140,000 b/d and will begin service in second-quarter 2013.
As EPP previously announced, it is building its Eagle Ford rich-gas mainline and associated laterals. So far, it has completed construction of about 375 miles of 16-36-in. natural gas pipeline. When the remaining 66 miles are completed, EPP’s Eagle Ford mainline will be able to deliver 900 MMcfd of rich gas to the Yoakum cryogenic gas plant.
The first 300-MMcfd train at Yoakum is to begin operating in May, the second train in July, and the third in first-quarter 2013. The Yoakum plant will then be able to process up to 900 MMcfd and produce up to about 111,000 b/d of NGL. Including EPP’s seven other integrated South Texas processing plants and a fully operating Yoakum plant, the company will be able the region about 2.4 bcfd of processing.