Enterprise Projects Set To Boost Fractionation and Processing

Enterprise Products Partners LP (Houston) is again increasing natural gas liquids fractionation capacity at its Mont Belvieu complex, complementing its previously reported move to construct a new fractionator adjacent to the complex. In addition, the company has begun construction of a new natural gas processing plant and work has started to increase LPG loading capacity at its hydro-carbon terminal on the Houston Ship Channel.

On Oct. 31 Enterprise said it would add an incremental 150,000-bbld expansion to its existing fractionation facilities at Mont Belvieu, lifting capacity to 1 MMbbld in the Belvieu area and to about 1.5 MMbbld company- wide. The work calls for construction of a new fractionator, which is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2020. Enterprise is also building another 150,000- bbld fractionator. Work is under way and completion is expected in the first quarter of 2020. The projects are sup- ported by long-term, fee-based contracts.

“The demand for NGL fractionation capacity continues to expand as producers in domestic shale plays like the Permian Basin, the Eagle Ford, and DJ [Denver- Julesburg] Basin seek market access and end-users require supply assurance,” said A.J. (Jim) Teague, CEO of Enterprise’s general partner. “The upstream players in this country have transformed the U.S. into the world’s dominant energy producer, and Enterprise is proud to be contributing to this achievement. With the completion of our new fractionators, Enterprise will have essentially doubled its fractionation capacity in response to the shale revolution of the past decade.” Teague added that the new fractionation units will supply NGL products for the expanding petro-chemical industry on the Gulf Coast as well as growing global demand for U.S. NGLs.

Enterprise also said Oct. 31 that construction has commenced on its Mentone cryogenic natural gas process- ing plant in Loving County, Texas. The facility, which is expected to be in service in the first quarter of 2020, will have the ability to process 300 MMcfd of natural gas and extract more than 40,000 bbld of NGLs. The project is supported by a long-term acreage dedication agreement.

“The Mentone facility further extends our value chain in the growing Delaware Basin and provides access to our fully integrated midstream network serving domes- tic and international markets,” Teague said. “The new plant complements our Orla natural gas processing complex in Reeves County, Texas where the second of three trains is now in service. The third train is on schedule for completion in the second quarter of 2019. Orla and Mentone combined will provide 1.3 Bcfd of natural gas processing capacity and 195,000 bbld of NGL production. Development of the Mentone facility provides us with expansion opportunities to meet customer growth plans.”

To support development of Mentone, Enterprise is constructing 66 miles of large-diameter gathering and residue pipelines and expanding compression capabilities. The projects will allow the Mentone plant to link to the partnership’s NGL system, including the Shin Oak pipeline scheduled for completion in the second quarter of next year, as well as Enterprise’s existing Texas intrastate natural gas pipeline network.

At the same time, construction is under way to increase loading capacity for LPG, primarily propane and butane, at the Enterprise Hydrocarbon Terminal by 175,000 bbld, or about five million barrels a month. The expansion will bring total LPG export capacity at the terminal to 720,000 bbld, or approximately 21 million barrels a month.

Upon completion of the expansion project, the Enterprise Hydrocarbon Terminal will have the capability to load as many as six very large gas carrier (VLGC) vessels simultaneously while maintaining the option to switch between propane and butane loadings. Once operational, the expansion will allow the terminal to load a single VLGC in less than 24 hours, creating greater efficiencies and cost savings for customers. The incremental capacity is expected to be available in the second half of 2019.

“Enterprise is already the largest exporter of propane in the world and this expansion project will increase our ability to export LPGs from the EHT facility by another 30% with nominal capital investment,” Teague said. “Domestic production of hydrocarbons continues to exceed expectations and U.S. demand. U.S. LPG production currently exceeds U.S. demand by over 1 MMbbld and domestic export terminals are approach- ing full utilization. We estimate that U.S. LPG production could increase by up to an additional 1.5 MMbbld by 2025. Without access to international markets, excess LPG supplies would lead to a curtailment in U.S. crude oil and natural gas production growth. Marine terminal expansions like ours will be essential to balancing the market and meeting growing global demand for U.S. hydrocarbons.”

(SOURCE: The Weekly Propane Newsletter, November 12, 2018)