SPECIAL REPORT: Project numbers up in pipeline, US gas processing categories

Nov. 19, 2007
Oil & Gas Journal’s semiannual Worldwide Construction Update shows a slight increase in the number of planned pipeline projects as well as new and expanded gas processing plants in the US compared to the previous edition of the update.

Oil & Gas Journal’s semiannual Worldwide Construction Update shows a slight increase in the number of planned pipeline projects as well as new and expanded gas processing plants in the US compared to the previous edition of the update (OGJ, Apr. 16, 2007, p. 18).

Following are details of projects selected from the complete list available online (see box).


Plans have been announced for refinery expansions and upgrades in the US.

In September, Motiva Enterprises LLC made a final investment decision to proceed with a 325,000-b/d expansion of its refinery in Port Arthur, Tex. (OGJ Online, Sept. 21, 2007). The expansion will increase the refinery’s oil throughput capacity to 600,000 b/d, making it the largest refinery in the US and one of the largest in the world. The additional production capacity will be online in 2010. The Bechtel Jacobs joint venture is the project’s engineering, procurement, and construction contractor.

Sinclair Tulsa Refining Co. plans a major expansion of its 70,000-b/d Tulsa refinery. The expansion project will increase the facility’s output of ultralow-sulfur gasoline and diesel. The project will raise distillation capacity to 115,000 b/d, add a delayed coker unit, and include other modifications to enable the facility to handle low-quality feedstock.

Placid Refining Co. LLC began a $200-million upgrade of its 55,000-b/cd refinery in Port Allen, La. (OGJ Online, July 23, 2007). The upgrade will increase the facility’s gasoline production by 30% to about 1.3 million gpd while reducing total air emissions by about 50%. The upgrade is being implemented in two phases.

The project’s first phase involves an 18,000-b/d gasoline desulfurization unit, a flue-gas scrubber for the facility’s fluid catalytic cracker to reduce emissions of sulfur, and other infrastructure improvements. Construction began in June and will be completed in second-quarter 2008.

Phase two includes the upgrade and expansion of the FCC to 24,500 b/d from 20,000 b/d. The majority of the construction for the second phase is scheduled for third-quarter 2008, during a 30-day turnaround. Placid said it is considering expansion of the refinery to 80,000 b/d later this decade.

Marathon’s $3.2 billion Garyville, La., refinery expansion project will increase crude oil capacity by 180,000 b/d. Start-up is scheduled for fourth-quarter 2009. Photo from Marathon.
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In July, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and his Nicaraguan counterpart Daniel Ortega ceremoniously launched construction of a 150,000-b/d refinery in Piedras Blancas, Nicaragua. Total investment in the project could reach $4 billion.

Meanwhile, Petrogal SA is in engineering stages of a project to construct a 39,000-b/d vacuum distillation unit at its 91,000-b/d refinery in Porto, Portugal. The unit will begin operating in January 2011.


Sinopec Zhenhai Refinery & Chemical established a joint venture with Lyondell Chemical Co. to construct a propylene oxide-styrene monomer manufacturing facility in Ningbo, China (OGJ Online, Apr. 23, 2007). It will be the largest such facility in the world. The plant will produce 274,000 tonnes/year (tpy) of propylene oxide and 602,000 tpy of styrene. It is due for completion in 2009.

In Singapore, ExxonMobil Chemical Co. plans to build a second world-scale steam cracker complex at its site in Jurong. The plant will be fully integrated with the company’s 605,000-b/cd refinery and chemical plant. The new plant will have a 1 million-tpy ethylene steam cracker, two 650,000-tpy polyethylene units, a 450,000-tpy polypropylene unit, and an aromatics extraction unit to produce 340,000 tpy of benzene. Start-up is due early in 2011.

TPL India Singapore Pte. Ltd. plans a 100,000-tpy normal-paraffin petrochemical plant on Jurong Island. The plant is Singapore’s first-ever joint venture with India and Kuwait. It will begin operating in 2009. Project cost is $110 million.

Bechtel is working with several new and expanded petrochemical projects in Thailand. Currently under construction are paraxylene, toluene, and xylene units in Sriracha. Completion is scheduled for 2008. Similar projects are being completed for PTT Polyethylene Co. Ltd. in Map Ta Phut.


Statoil ASA commenced production at the 4.1 million-tpy Hammerfest LNG plant in northern Norway in September. The plant is the biggest of its kind in Europe and the most energy-efficient in the world, says the company. It exported its first cargo of 145,000 cu m of LNG at the end of October.

Meanwhile, Gulf Coast LNG Partners LP received approval from the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for the siting, construction, and operation of the Calhoun LNG facility at Port Lavaca-Point Comfort, Tex. The project consists of an LNG terminal with two 160,000 cu m storage tanks and 1 bcfd of gas vaporization and liquid separation capacity. The project is scheduled for completion in 2009-10.

LNG projects are under construction in the US, Qatar, and China.

Gas processing

Enterprise Products Partners LP (EPP) recently completed the first phase of its Meeker gas processing complex in the Piceance basin of northwestern Colorado. The plant has a capacity of 750 MMcfd of natural gas and is capable of extracting up to 35,000 b/d of NGLs. The second phase of the complex is under construction and will be completed in third-quarter 2008, doubling capacities.

In August, EPP started up its 75,000-b/d NGL fractionator in Gaines County, Tex. The facility is located at the interconnect of the Mid-America Pipeline and Seminole Pipeline systems and can supply NGL hubs at Mont Belvieu, Tex., and Conway, Kan. The company also started up a propylene fractionator at Mont Belvieu.

Construction progresses on tanks for Cheniere Energy’s Sabine Pass LNG terminal. Each tank is capable of storing 160,000 cu m of LNG. The terminal will be completed in second-quarter 2008. Photo from Cheniere.
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Danagaz Bahrain will build, own, and operate the 55 bcf/year Gulf of Suez NGL recovery plant near Ras Shukheir, Egypt. The plant will produce 120,000 tpy of propane and butane. It will be operational by late 2009.

GTL, other gas

Sinopec Yangzi Petrochemical Co. Ltd. awarded Technip a basic design and engineering package for a synthesis gas plant in Nanjing, China. It will be based on Technip’s proprietary reformer technology and Air Products proprietary cryogenic carbon monoxide purification technology. The plant, to be operational in 2009, will be able to produce 25,000 cu m/hr of CO, 16,000 cu m/hr of oxygas, and 59,000 cu m/hr of hydrogen.


Saudi Aramco let a basic design package contract to Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. for a 900 tonne/day sulfur recovery unit for its Khursaniyah gas plant in Saudi Arabia. The unit will be designed to achieve 99% sulfur recovery at the end of a 2-year run.

More sulfur projects are in engineering stages in the UAE and other locations.


A long pipeline project currently under construction is the 4,350-mile pipeline that will deliver 30 billion cu m/year of gas from Turkmenistan to China starting in 2009. About 117 miles of the pipeline will be laid in Turkmenistan, 329 miles in Uzbekistan, 808 miles in Kazakhstan, and over 2,796 miles in China.

In North America, Kinder Morgan Canada began construction on the Anchor Loop project, the second phase of expansion of the Trans Mountain crude and products pipeline system. The expansion will increase Trans Mountain’s capacity to 300,000 b/d from 260,000 b/d. The project entails looping 98 miles of the Trans Mountain system through rugged terrain in Jasper National Park in Alberta and Mount Robson Provincial Park in British Columbia. It will be completed in November 2008.

In the US, Enterprise Products Partners placed into service the final phase of its 50,000 b/d expansion of the Rocky Mountain portion of its 2,500-mile Mid-America Pipeline system, increasing the system’s capacity to 275,000 b/d from 225,000 b/d of products (OGJ Online, Oct. 10, 2007). This portion of the project involved the installation of pumps and modification of existing equipment at 20 pump stations. The initial 30,000 b/d of additional capacity, created by looping more than 160 miles of pipe, went online in April.

The expansion can move products north or south.

Crosstex Energy LP will invest $80 million to construct a 29-mile natural gas pipeline in Texas’ north Johnson County to provide greater takeaway capacity to producers in the Barnett shale region of the western US.

The project will include 20-in. and 24-in. pipelines and three compressor stations totaling 36,000 hp. The low-pressure and high-pressure gathering system will have an ultimate capacity of about 400 MMcfd when all phases of construction are completed in second-quarter 2008. Initially, the pipeline will transport 80 MMcfd of gas and is scheduled to begin deliveries in the third quarter. It will reach full capacity by 2009.

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Click here to download the 2007 Worldwide Construction Update tables. OGJ subscribers can also download free of charge previous editions of the update at www.ogjonline.com: Click on OGJ Online Research Center, OGJ Subscriber Surveys, then Worldwide Construction. To purchase survey data in spreadsheet format, go to www.ogj.com/resourcecenter/orc_survey.cfm, or e-mail [email protected].