Engineering News

Enterprise To Expand NGL Fractionation Capacity At Mont Belvieu
August 07, 2009

Enterprise Products Partners L.P. (EPD) on Friday announced plans to build a new 75,000 barrels per day (BPD) natural gas liquid (NGL) fractionator at its Mont Belvieu, Texas, complex that will provide the partnership with additional capacity to better accommodate growing NGL volumes from producing areas in the Rockies, the Barnett Shale, and the emerging Eagle Ford Shale play in South Texas.

The expansion, which is supported by long-term contracts, will be based on the design of the partnership's 75,000 BPD Hobbs fractionator in Gaines County, Texas, that began service in August 2007. When completed, the project will increase Enterprise's NGL fractionation capacity at Mont Belvieu to approximately 300,000 BPD and net system-wide capacity to approximately 600,000 BPD.

"Over the past three years, our NGL fractionation volumes have increased by 46 percent to a record 449,000 barrels per day in the second quarter of 2009," said Executive Vice President A.J. "Jim" Teague, chief commercial officer for Enterprise. "Our NGL fractionators are operating at or near their practical limits and we have consistently contracted with third party fractionators for additional capacity. With the expected growth in NGL production and demand for NGLs by the petrochemical industry, we have seen strong demand for NGL fractionation, storage and distribution services. Our Mont Belvieu facility, the largest NGL fractionation and storage complex in the world, is uniquely positioned to provide customers with the services and flexibility to help ensure operational reliability and attractive market access for their feedstocks and products."

Teague added, "As an indication of this growing demand for fractionation services, consider that our Hobbs facility in West Texas, which began service in the third quarter of 2007, has been operating at capacity since the first quarter of 2008. In fact, we have even been utilizing our fractionators in Louisiana to offload volumes that exceeded our available capacity at Mont Belvieu in order to satisfy customer demands."

"We believe our integrated NGL system coupled with this investment in additional fractionation capacity will help differentiate Enterprise from other midstream companies as we compete to provide natural gas and NGL midstream services for producers in the Eagle Ford Shale play. To date, the natural gas discoveries in the Eagle Ford have generally been rich in NGLs. A key component in providing these producers with the highest netback revenue to the wellhead for their production will be the ability to extract, transport, fractionate and deliver their NGL production to the highest valued markets on the Gulf Coast, whether that is in Texas, Louisiana or in the export market. Enterprise can do that," concluded Teague.

In addition to providing enhanced service for producers, the current fundamentals in the petrochemical sector serve as an example of how the new fractionator can position Enterprise to capitalize on additional business opportunities. In particular, the ethylene industry has seen a marked improvement in operating rates since the end of 2008, and NGLs such as ethane and propane continue to be the preferred feedstocks over more expensive crude oil derivatives. Also, given the bullish long-term outlook for prices of crude oil relative to natural gas, some petrochemical facilities that have traditionally used crude oil derivatives have made, or are considering making, modifications to give them the flexibility to utilize NGLs.

Similarly, NGL export volumes at Enterprise's facility on the Houston Ship Channel have recently been at high levels rarely seen in summer months. That trend is expected to continue through the rest of 2009 and most of 2010.

The project is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2011, subject to regulatory approvals.

Enterprise Products Partners L.P. is one of the largest publicly traded partnerships and is a leading North American provider of midstream energy services to producers and consumers of natural gas, NGLs, crude oil and petrochemicals. Enterprise transports natural gas, NGLs, crude oil and petrochemicals through more than 36,000 miles of onshore and offshore pipelines. Services include natural gas transportation, gathering, processing and storage; NGL fractionation (or separation), transportation, storage, and import and export terminaling; crude oil transportation and offshore production platform; and petrochemical transportation and storage services. Enterprise Products Partners L.P. is managed by its general partner, Enterprise Products GP LLC, which is wholly owned by Enterprise GP Holdings L.P.

Source: Enterprise Products Partners L.P.

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