EPP to build Gulf Coast ethane export plant

Enterprise Products Partners LP (EPP) plans to build a fully refrigerated ethane export plant on the Texas Gulf Coast. EPP has executed long-term contracts to support the development, designed to have an aggregate loading rate of about 10,000 bbl/hr, or as much as 240,000 b/d. EPP expects the plant, which it describes as the largest in the world, to begin operations in third-quarter 2016.

EPP will integrate the plant with its Mont Belvieu complex, which includes more than 650,000 b/d of NGL fractionation capacity and 100 million bbl of NGL storage. The company brought its eighth Mont Belvieu fractionator online late last year, bringing its system-wide capacity to more than 1 million b/d (OGJ Online, Nov. 19, 2013).

The company estimates that US ethane production exceeds US demand by 300,000 b/d and that this surplus could reach 700,000 b/d by 2020, even after estimated incremental demand from planned ethylene production. A recent study by Simmons & Co., however, sees ethane rejection peaking at 545,000 b/d in 2015 and general oversupply remaining through 2016, after which the 2017 startup of seven petrochemical plants increases consumption by 520,000 b/d and absorbs incremental supply (OGJ Online, Sept. 1, 2013).

Contact Christopher E. Smith at chriss@ogjonline.com.

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