Enterprise Products Partners LP and Navigator Holdings Ltd. said Wednesday the first ethylene cargo has been shipped from their 50/50 joint venture marine terminal at Morgan’s Point on the Houston Ship Channel.
Japan’s Marubeni Corp. is the customer for the 25 million pound cargo, Enterprise and Navigator said.
The terminal has capacity to load 2.2 billion pounds/year of ethylene, and is connected to Enterprise’s Mont Belvieu natural gas liquids complex east of Houston.
The companies said a refrigerated storage tank that can hold 66 million pounds of ethylene is being built onsite, and would allow ethylene to be loaded at a rate of 2.2 million pounds/hour. Construction of the tank is slated to conclude late this year.
Annual U.S. ethylene production is set to surpass 100 billion pounds by 2025, once a second wave of petrochemical plants currently under development are completed, according to Enterprise’s Jim Teague, CEO of the general partner.
“We are very pleased to join forces with Navigator to bring this new terminal to fruition, which complements Enterprise’s integrated pipeline and storage network, including the development of open market hubs for ethylene and polymer grade propylene that help ensure price transparency, reliability and flexibility for petrochemical producers and consumers,” Teague said.
Navigator Gas Executive Chairman David Butters said the terminal “represents the beginning of an expansion of the export of valuable intermediate petrochemical gas products including ethylene and propylene…We expect this trend of exporting intermediate petrochemical gases to accelerate, benefiting our specialized tankers. Furthermore, we are working in the development of domestic and international infrastructure projects that will facilitate this important trend.”
In Texas, Enterprise also is developing a 24-mile ethylene pipeline between Mont Belvieu and Bayport, and the 90-mile Baymark ethylene pipeline from Bayport to Markham. Both projects are expected to enter service in 4Q2020 and are backed by long-term customer commitments.
Following an unprecedented buildout of midstream infrastructure driven by the North American shale gas revolution, “the buildout frenzy appears to be fizzling and flickering,” RBN Energy LLC’s Housley Carr said in a report published Wednesday.
“Midstreamers’ capital spending plans are on the decline, at least for now, as most of the infrastructure needed to handle current and expected volumes for the next few years is either in place or under construction,” Carr said.
According to East Daley Capital’s newly released “Dirty Little Secrets” report about what’s ahead for the midstream segment, vertically integrated midstreamers such as Enterprise, Energy Transfer LP and Targa Resources Corp., should see gross earnings growth in 2020 “that outpaces production gains and market expectations.”