Gulf Coast Fractionators said it will expand the capacity of its natural gas liquids fractionation facility in Mont Belvieu, TX, by 43,000 b/d (42%) to 145,000 b/d. Gulf Coast is a partnership of ConocoPhillips, Devon Energy Corp. and Targa Resources Partners LP. ConocoPhillips, as the operator, will manage the expansion. Existing operations are not expected to be disrupted during the construction. The expansion is expected to be operational during the second quarter of 2012, subject to regulatory approvals.

Sawgrass Storage LLC is holding a nonbinding open season for high-deliverability underground gas storage and a hub development project just west of Perryville in Lincoln and Union Parishes in Northeast Louisiana. The open season began Oct. 12 and will extend through Nov. 16. Sawgrass Storage, which was formed by subsidiaries of Nicor Inc. of Naperville, IL, and Samson Contour Energy E&P LLC of Tulsa, OK, is seeking bids for firm service projected to begin on June 1, 2012. The project initially would provide up to 25 Bcf of working capacity with the ability to expand to 40 Bcf. Firm injection and withdrawal capabilities would be 250 MMcf/d and 625 MMcf/d, respectively. Sawgrass estimates its customers could cycle inventories up to three and a half times per year. The project would feature a storage and gas handling facility, a dual (high and low pressure) header system with compression in the heart of the Perryville region, and 27 miles of 30-inch diameter pipeline connecting the storage complex to the header system. Sawgrass began the pre-filing process at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Docket PF10-20-000) in June. There are potential interconnects with up to 10 major pipelines in the Perryville region. For information contact John Fortman at (630) 245-7845 or jfortma@nicor.com, or Oscar Towne at (630) 245-7814 or otowne@nicor.com. Information is also available at www.sawgrassgas.com.

Denbury Resources Inc. is selling its Haynesville and East Texas natural gas assets for $217.5 million to an undisclosed private oil and gas company. The sale is expected to close within 45 days with an effective date of Sept. 1, 2010. Production attributable to the properties averaged 34 MMcfe/d during the second quarter. A portion of the sale proceeds will be used to repay most of the company's outstanding bank debt, Denbury said. Denbury said that because of the sale, it expects to terminate a portion of its remaining 2010 and 2011 gas hedges and expects to realize between $10 million and $15 million from the termination.

An Apache Corp. unit has completed its acquisition of substantially all of BP plc's upstream natural gas business in western Alberta and British Columbia. It marks the second closing of Apache's three-part acquisition of BP assets. Apache Canada Ltd. acquired assets with estimated proved reserves of 224 MMboe and first-half 2010 net production of 46,500 boe/d. The acquisition includes 1.3 million net acres with "significant positions" in several emerging unconventional plays, including the Montney, Cadomin, Doig and coalbed methane. The company paid $3.25 billion for the Canadian properties. The effective date of the transaction was July 1.

Global buyout firm TPG Capital has launched Petro Harvester Oil & Gas LLC (Harvester) to purchase North American oil and natural gas properties. In its first transaction Harvester agreed to buy some properties in the Mississippi Salt Basin from Comstock Resources Inc. for $75 million in cash. Comstock, based in Frisco, TX, said net production from the properties to be sold averaged 0.9 MMcf/d of gas and 1,138 b/d of oil in the first six months of this year. The sale is expected to close before the end of the year. The Harvester team, based in Houston, is led by Chairman Gareth Roberts, the founder and former CEO of Denbury Resources Inc.

Royal Dutch Shell plc and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) agreed to collaborate over the next five years to research and develop "high-value, sustainable technologies" that innovate energy delivery. As part of its commitment, Shell plans to invest $5 million a year over the next five years to the MIT Energy Initiative to fund a suite of projects focused on advanced modeling, earth science, biofuels, nanotechnology and carbon management. Longer term, the Shell-MIT collaboration plans to address "future and emerging technologies that demonstrate game-changing potential for the energy industry."

©Copyright 2010 Intelligence Press Inc. All rights reserved. The preceding news report may not be republished or redistributed, in whole or in part, in any form, without prior written consent of Intelligence Press, Inc.