An expansion of natural gas processing and natural gas liquids (NGL) fractionation services is under way in South Texas at the Shoup and Armstrong facilities to process expanding Eagle Ford Shale output, according to joint partners Enterprise Products Partners LP and Duncan Energy Partners LP.

The upgrades are part of a more comprehensive plan to expand the partnerships’ midstream infrastructure in South Texas, the partnerships said Wednesday.

“This project further demonstrates the value of our existing assets in South Texas, which serve as the foundation for our strategy of focusing on the efficient and creative use of capital to generate attractive returns from increasing activity and higher demand for midstream services in the Eagle Ford Shale,” said Enterprise CEO Michael A. Creel.

“These expansions will not only give us the flexibility to accommodate more volumes but should also position us to capture additional value from the various physical qualities of the natural gas, particularly the high NGL content, that are characteristic of Eagle Ford Shale production.”

At the Shoup facility in Nueces County, “the focus is on modifying existing fractionation equipment” to increase capacity to 77,000 b/d. The expansion is scheduled to be completed by the end of June. Incremental volumes of NGLs to fill the additional capacity are expected to be supplied by six existing Enterprise natural gas plants currently feeding the facility. Production from these plants is expected to “increase significantly” over the next six months as the quantity and quality of the gas supplies increase, Enterprise noted.

Modifications to existing infrastructure at the Armstrong plant in DeWitt County would increase fractionation capacity to more than 20,000 b/d. The supply for the increased fractionation capacity would be enhanced by efficiency improvements at the onsite gas processing plant. Improvements in processing capabilities, which are scheduled to be completed by the end of the year, are designed to increase NGL recoveries, Enterprise noted. Additionally, the gas plant and fractionator upgrades would allow the Armstrong facility to handle more liquid-rich gas.

In related news, Enterprise said it is moving forward on two key gas pipeline construction projects that would provide more than 200 MMcf/d of incremental transportation capacity (see Daily GPI, Dec. 7, 2009). The final segment of pipeline to complete the White Kitchen Lateral is scheduled for completion in mid-July.

The 62-mile White Kitchen Lateral, which runs through the heart of the Eagle Ford Shale in LaSalle and Webb counties, connects two of Enterprise’s existing 20-inch diameter pipelines located at the northern and southern edges of the play.

Construction also is nearing completion on the first segment of the east-west Eagle Ford Shale Mainline project. The 34-mile, 24-inch diameter pipeline, which would connect Enterprise’s and Duncan’s South Texas pipeline in southwest LaSalle County to the White Kitchen Lateral, is scheduled for completion by June 1.

Enterprise Products Partners LP is managed by general partner Enterprise Products GP LLC, which is wholly owned by Enterprise GP Holdings LP. Duncan Energy Partners is managed by general partner, DEP Holdings LLC, which is a subsidiary of Enterprise.

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