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Enterprise Converting Portion of Natural Gas Line to Y-Grade to Boost Gulf Coast Capacity

Given persistently tight fractionation capacity along the Gulf Coast, Enterprise Products Partners LP plans to optimize the Shoup fractionator in Nueces County by expanding and repurposing a portion of its South Texas natural gas pipeline system, the company said Tuesday.

Under its plan, Enterprise would convert 65 miles of existing gas pipeline to natural gas liquids (NGL) service as well as construct 21 miles of pipeline. The project would allow the company to supply Shoup with 25,000 b/d of additional NGL volumes. The expanded pipeline capacity is expected to be available in the third quarter of 2019.

Enterprise also plans to restart its 30,000 b/d Tebone fractionator in Ascension Parish, LA. The plant is connected by pipeline to each of the midstream company’s Louisiana natural gas processing plants, as well as its NGL fractionation and storage hub in Mont Belvieu near Houston. The resumption of service at Tebone, which is expected in early 2019, would complement Enterprise’s Norco and Promix fractionators, providing another option for NGLs delivered to Mont Belvieu.

Even as Enterprise continues to increase its fractionation capacity with expansion projects, including two 150,000 b/d facilities scheduled to be ready in the first half of 2020, “capacity will remain tight for the time being,” CEO Jim Teague said.

“The optimization of our Shoup facility and restart of our Tebone fractionator highlights the flexibility of our integrated midstream network, which extends beyond the Mont Belvieu complex into South Texas and Louisiana, and provides a timely, efficient and cost-effective solution for accommodating growing production from domestic shale basins,” Teague said.

On a conference call last week to discuss quarterly earnings, the company chief said demand from the expanding petrochemical industry along the Gulf Coast, as well as global NGL demand, has driven the need for more fractionation capacity.

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