Ethane and Other NGL are “On the Move” in Appalachia and Elsewhere

by Duane Nichols on August 28, 2019

NGL pipelines cross the Appalachian mountains in Penna.

US’ Enterprise gauges demand for expanding ATEX ethane pipeline

From an Article by Harry Weber, S&P Global Platts, August 26, 2019

Houston, TX — Enterprise Products Partners has begun soliciting shipper interest in a proposed 50,000 b/d expansion of its ATEX ethane pipeline that would move more supplies from the Appalachian Basin to its NGLs storage complex in Mont Belvieu, Texas.

The operator has been looking to boost deliveries of oil, gas, and natural gas liquids (NGLs) from key shale basins in the US Northeast and West Texas to downstream markets including the Gulf Coast to serve domestic and overseas demand.

Along the Houston Ship Channel and Gulf Coast, Enterprise’s connectivity has been a growth driver. For drillers, stripping ethane and propane from the natural gas produced at the wellhead creates two more revenue streams in addition to the dry gas that remains. Midstream operators benefit by increasing volumes on their pipelines, and in Enterprise’s case it has significant export capabilities from the Gulf, with Asian demand providing a key market.

The 1,200-mile ATEX, or Appalachia-to-Texas, pipeline transports ethane from the Marcellus and Utica shale plays in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio to Enterprise’s Mont Belvieu complex. The system has access to petrochemical facilities along the Gulf Coast.

The extra capacity that Enterprise is considering, which would be achieved by a combination of pipeline looping, hydraulic improvements, and modifications to existing infrastructure, is subject to sufficient customer commitments through the binding open season. The solicitation launched Monday runs through September 25. The expanded capabilities would be in service by 2022, Enterprise said in a statement.

Enterprise’s Mont Belvieu hub also gets NGLs fed to it from the south and west, via the South Texas NGL pipeline system, Seminole NGL Pipeline, and Texas Express Pipeline. In February, the mainline of Enterprise’s Shin Oak NGL pipeline entered service.

In Enterprise’s latest quarter, NGL pipeline transportation volumes edged up to 3.6 million b/d from 3.4 million b/d for second-quarter 2018. When it released its results in July, Enterprise said it was eyeing further expansions tied to its hub along the ship channel, as well as upgrades to existing natural gas processing facilities.

The efforts tie into its NGL expansion plans, as Enterprise wants to increase market share along the entire value chain from wellhead to processing plant to storage and export facility. In the Permian, for instance, Enterprise has projected that by 2020 it will have more than 1.6 Bcf/d of natural gas processing capacity and over 250,000 b/d of NGL production capabilities, as well as 1.5 million b/d of systemwide fractionation capacity.


See also: Gov. Wolf tells pipeline activists he won’t shut down Mariner East pipeline | StateImpact Pennsylvania, August 26, 2019

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