Enterprise to build propylene unit on Texas Gulf Coast

Enterprise Products Partners LP, Houston, will build a 35,000-b/d propane dehydrogenation (PDH) unit on the Texas Gulf Coast to take advantage of low-cost propane derived from increased NGL production out of nearby shale gas development.

A company spokesman told OGJ the “precise location is still being determined,” and he did not disclose the estimated cost. Enterprise operates extensive fractionation at Mont Belvieu and several pipelines connecting operations there with local markets and export terminals.

The PDH unit will be able to produce up to 1.65 billion lb/year (about 750,000 tonnes/year; tpy) of polymer-grade propylene (PGP), a prime feedstock for plastics manufacturers.

According to the announcement, the unit will be “one of the world’s largest.” Enterprise Products expects it to begin operating in third-quarter 2015.

For feedstock supply, the PDH will be supported by Enterprise’s Gulf Coast NGL fractionation and storage. With previously announced expansions, the company by 2015 will have 708,000 b/d of NGL fractionation capacity, which would provide up to 177,000 b/d of propane (OGJ, May 7, 2012, p. 88).

In addition, the new PDH unit will be supported by Enterprise Products’ 100 million bbl of NGL and petrochemical storage along the Texas Gulf Coast.

Also in 2015, the PDH unit will be complemented by Enterprise’s 5.3 billion lb/year (2.4 million tpy) propylene fractionation capacity, which fractionates refinery-grade propylene to produce PGP.

Enterprise also has PGP storage and a 102-mile pipeline capable of delivering PGP to 18 downstream customers and to international markets through the partnership’s propylene export terminal in Seabrook, Tex.

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