Enterprise to develop US ethane pipeline, expands LPG

23:41 PM | March 18, 2013 | —Lindsay Frost and Clay Boswell

Enterprise Products Partners (Houston) has announced plans to develop a 270-mile naural gas liquids (NGLs) pipeline on the US Gulf Coast to deliver ethane to petrochemical plants, the company says. The Aegis pipeline will begin at Enterprise’s Mont Belvieu, TX, liquids storage complex with the capacity to transport purity ethane to plants in Texas and Louisiana; however, the final design—including capacity and specific delivery points—will be determined after the conclusion of the project’s open commitment period to gauge customer interest.

Enterprise: Expanding capacity for ethane and propane as demand for NGLs and LPGs increases.

“The willingness of shippers to make long-term commitments provides us with the assurance necessary to build the midstream infrastructure that will facilitate additional consumption of domestically produced ethane,” says A.J. Teague, COO of Enterprise’s general partner. “Enterprise’s Mont Belvieu storage facilities, which have extensive receipt and delivery capacities for NGLs, will support the Aegis pipeline with sufficient and reliable supplies of ethane.” Aegis will the provide the distribution network necessary for producers from multiple natural gas production basins across the country, Enterprise says. “Demand for price-advantaged ethane feedstock within the Gulf Coast petrochemical market is over 1 million [bbl/day] and continues to increase,” Teague says.

Aegis is expected to begin commercial operations in 2014. The open commitment period began 12 March and closes 9 April.

Separately, Enterprise announced on 8 March that it has started operations at its expanded liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) export facility on the Houston Ship Channel. The expansion increases the company’s loading capacity for low-ethane propane from 4 million bbl/month to 7.5 million bbl/month. The project also increases loading capacity for butane and isobutene.

Enterprise has also expanded a long-term terminal service agreement with Oiltanking Partners, the owner of the marine terminal complex where the export facility is located. Enterprise says that the amended agreement, which runs through 2026, will provide Enterprise additional operating flexibility, including an increase in the number of docks available to load LPG export vessels that would support further expansions. Enterprise says it may increase propane export capacity up to 10 million bbl/month as soon as the beginning of 2015.

“We are pleased to complete the expansion of our LPG export facility and to enhance our relationship with Oiltanking,” Teague says. “There is strong international demand for US propane, and we continue to receive strong indications of interest for long-term commitments from customers that could underwrite another expansion of the export facility.”