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Enterprise Picks Houston Ship Channel for Ethane Terminal

Enterprise Products Partners LP will build its recently announced ethane export facility on the Houston Ship Channel, the partnership said Wednesday.

The partnership signed a 30-year agreement with the Port of Houston Authority for use of facilities adjacent to its existing Morgan's Point terminal near La Porte.

Enterprise also plans to construct a pipeline from its Mont Belvieu, TX, natural gas liquids (NGL) fractionation and storage complex, providing direct access to ethane supply. As designed, the export terminal would have the capability to load fully refrigerated ethane at about 10,000 bbl per hour.

The facility is expected to begin operation during the third quarter of 2016. Enterprise said it has long-term contracts in place to support the terminal and is in discussions with other potential customers for remaining capacity.

Enterprise's Mont Belvieu complex receives NGL supplies from the major producing basins across the United States and is connected to growing supplies of ethane from the Marcellus and Utica shales through its recently completed Appalachia-to-Texas Express (Atex) ethane pipeline.

In April, after months of negotiations with prospective customers, Enterprise said it would go ahead with construction of the facility (see Daily GPIApril 23). At that time the partnership was still in the site selection process. One of the challenges Enterprise executives encountered in talks with overseas buyers was the prospective buyers’ lack of familiarity with the Mont Belvieu liquids hub and commodity prices there. Overseas buyers are more familiar with buying ethane at prices indexed to naphtha.

On the East Coast, Sunoco Logistics Partners LP has said its former crude oil refinery in Marcus Hook, PA, along the Delaware River south of Philadelphia, would be exporting ethane to Europe next year (see Shale DailyMay 2April 29).

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