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Meeker Processing Complex Second Phase in Operation

The Meeker II gas processing plant in Colorado's Piceance Basin has begun operations, doubling the capacity at the Meeker complex to 1.5 Bcf/d with the capability to extract up to 70,000 b/d of natural gas liquids (NGL), Enterprise Products Partners LP said last Thursday. The partnership also began operations at its recently expanded Shilling and Thompsonville processing plants in South Texas and expects its relocated Chaparral facility in the Permian Basin to begin processing gas later in March.

The Meeker complex is supported by long-term commitments from 10 of the largest producers in the Piceance Basin; one of them is ExxonMobil, which said earlier this month that it would be ramping up the first phase of its Piceance Basin gas project by the end of the month (see NGI, March 9).

Current inlet volume at Meeker is approximately 750 MMcf/d with approximately 38,000 b/d of NGLs being extracted. Gas volumes are projected to reach approximately 1.1 Bcf/d by the end of 2009, which is expected to produce approximately 60,000 b/d of NGLs. The plant's first phase began processing gas in fall 2007 (see NGI, Oct. 22, 2007).

"Meeker is an integral component of our western midstream energy system," said A.J. Teague, Enterprise chief commercial officer. "This expansion will facilitate the continuing growth in natural gas production from the Piceance Basin that is expected in 2009 and 2010 despite the effects of the recent decrease in drilling activity. Based on producer estimates, there are over 300 wells that have been completed in the basin that are waiting for pipeline connections. Meeker, through its connection with the White River natural gas hub, provides producers with access to markets through connections with six interstate pipelines that have approximately 2.5 Bcf/d of total takeaway capacity."

The Chaparral facility was an idle plant that was acquired in the partnership's merger with GulfTerra Energy Partners LP in 2004 and was recently relocated from southeast Texas to serve producers in the Permian Basin. The facility, which can handle up to 40 MMcf/d of gas and extract more than 2,000 b/d of NGLs, serves the partnership's approximately 900-mile Carlsbad Gathering System in southeast New Mexico.

As part of the project, Enterprise constructed a new 13-mile, four-inch diameter NGL pipeline that links the processing plant to TEPPCO Partners LP's Chaparral pipeline, which transports NGLs to the fractionation complex at Mont Belvieu, TX. Additionally, interconnects with major interstate pipelines provide producers with access to markets in the western United States.

Expansion projects have also been completed and placed into service at two processing facilities that are part of Enterprise's South Texas system. At the Shilling plant in Webb County, TX, capacity has been increased 83%, from 60 MMcf/d to 110 MMcf/d. This has allowed Enterprise to increase its market share in the region and provide added flexibility in accessing industrial end-users along the Gulf Coast and the Houston Ship Channel.

The partnership also expanded its Thompsonville processing plant in Jim Hogg County, TX. Re-piping and other efforts increased capacity at the facility by 10%, from 300 MMcf/d to 330 MMcf/d while maintaining ethane and propane recovery percentages.

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