Enterprise Products Partners LP Tuesday announced several projects to extend and expand its natural gas and natural gas liquids (NGL) infrastructure in South Texas and Mont Belvieu, TX, to accommodate growing volumes from the Eagle Ford Shale play.

The partnership plans to install 350 miles of pipelines, build a natural gas processing facility and add an NGL fractionator at the Mont Belvieu complex near the Houston Ship Channel. The partnership recently completed several projects, including the initial 34-mile segment of the east-west rich gas Eagle Ford mainline and the final leg of the 62-mile White Kitchen Lateral. Enterprise soon will be able to fill the existing 1.5 Bcf/d of capacity at its seven South Texas natural gas processing facilities, the partnership said Tuesday.

While many infrastructure developers have been focused on projects to serve NGL production in the Appalachian Basin's Marcellus Shale (see Daily GPI, June 3), Enterprise said in April that it was more interested in the Eagle Ford (see Daily GPI April 28). Given the increased attention the industry is paying to NGLs, some have wondered whether processing, fractionation and transportation infrastructure will be able to handle the demand and whether all of the NGLs can be absorbed by petrochemical and other markets (see Daily GPI, June 14).

Included in the planned construction is an expansion of Enterprise's east-west rich gas mainline that will involve adding three pipeline segments totaling 168 miles. The first phase will involve the installation of 26 miles of 24-inch diameter pipeline extending the mainline to the far western reaches of the Eagle Ford Shale. The remaining 142 miles, to be built in two segments, will be composed of 30-inch and 36-inch diameter pipelines that will serve the eastern portion of the Eagle Ford. Upon completion, the Eagle Ford Shale rich gas mainline system and associated laterals will consist of approximately 300 miles of pipelines representing gathering and transportation capacity of more than 600 MMcf/d, Enterprise said.

The east end of Eagle Ford mainline will terminate at a new gas complex that Enterprise plans to build that will feature multiple processing trains designed for deep ethane recovery and production of mixed NGLs in excess of 60,000 b/d. Following completion of these projects, which is expected in early 2012, Enterprise's Texas assets will have the capability to gather, transport and process almost 2.5 Bcf/d of gas and produce more than 150,000 b/d of NGLs.

Takeaway capacity for residue gas from the new processing facility will be provided by a combination of existing Enterprise infrastructure and construction of additional gas pipelines. Enterprise is planning to construct a new 64-mile, 30-inch diameter residue gas line from the cryogenic facility to its Wilson gas storage facility in Wharton County, TX. Wilson offers access to major interstate pipelines, including Trunkline, Tennessee Gas, Transco, NGPL, Gulf South and Texas Eastern. An expansion to increase capacity at the storage facility by 5 Bcf is under way.

Transportation of mixed NGLs from the new processing facility to the Mont Belvieu complex will be accomplished by expanding Enterprise's infrastructure, highlighted by the planned construction of a new 127-mile, 12-inch diameter pipeline, which will have an initial capacity of more than 60,000 b/d, readily expandable to more than 120,000 b/d. The project is scheduled for completion early in 2012.

To accommodate the increased volumes from the Eagle Ford and other producing regions, Enterprise is proceeding with plans to construct a fifth 75,000 b/d NGL fractionator at the Mont Belvieu complex. Construction of the fourth fractionation train is on schedule for completion by the end of 2010, at which time the Mont Belvieu complex will have capacity in excess of 300,000 b/d. The addition of the fifth unit, which is expected in early 2012, will increase fractionation capacity at the complex to approximately 375,000 b/d.

"These next phases, which more clearly illustrate the broad scope and integrated approach of our plan in the Eagle Ford Shale, will not only provide more takeaway capacity but offer access to other midstream services and market opportunities that will allow producers to maximize the value of their commodities," said Enterprise CEO Michael A. Creel.

In Nueces County, TX, the partnership completed the expansion of the Shoup gas processing and fractionation facility last Sunday. Modifications at Shoup have increased NGL capacity to 77,000 b/d, allowing the facility to handle the additional volumes from the other six existing Enterprise natural gas plants, which are seeing increased production from the Eagle Ford Shale.

Activity in the Eagle Ford continues to increase with approximately 75 rigs working in the play, which have drilled nearly 180 wells, Enterprise said. Current production from the play is estimated at approximately 250 MMcf/d of gas and 15,000 b/d of crude oil and condensate.

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