Enterprise Products Partners LP (EPP) began injecting ethane into the Appalachia-to-Texas Express (ATEX) pipeline in late November and will continue through this month. The company expects commercial service to begin January 2014. The 1,230-mile ATEX pipeline starts in Washington County, Pa., and is, or will be, connected to four fractionators in the Marcellus-Utica shale region, including the MarkWest Houston plant in Pennsylvania and Cadiz plant in Ohio, the Blue Racer Natrium plant in West Virginia, and the Utica East Ohio Scio plant.
ATEX will have an initial capacity of 125,000 b/d, expandable to at least 265,000 b/d. Firm ship-or-pay transportation agreements with 15-year terms support the project. About 65,000 b/d of those contracted volumes are expected to move initially, ramping up to more than 130,000 b/d transported beginning in 2018.
ATEX ends at EPP’s Mont Belvieu, Tex., complex, which has more than 100 million bbl of NGL and petroleum liquid storage, more than 750,000 b/d of fractionation, and an extensive NGL distribution system. EPP says with the addition of its Aegis ethane pipeline now under construction, ATEX will link Marcellus-produced ethane to every existing ethylene production facility in the US and provide supply security to support construction of new crackers currently planned for the Gulf Coast.
EPP’s distribution system also supplies its LPG export terminal on the Houston Ship Channel and a second export terminal under development. The new terminal will load 6-6.5 million bbl/month of low-ethane propane and butane on vessels up to very large gas carrier-class in size. Site evaluations are underway in Louisiana and Texas with a fourth-quarter 2015 in-service date targeted (OGJ Online, Oct. 2, 2013).
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