Service has begun on a 30,000-ton refrigerated ethylene storage tank at an export facility in Morgan’s Point, TX, owned through a 50-50 joint venture between affiliates of Enterprise Products Partners LP and Navigator Holdings Ltd., the companies announced Tuesday.

The first vessel to utilize the service, a 21,000 cubic meter ethylene gas carrier, was loaded at the facility, located on the Houston Ship Channel, last week. The newly in-service storage tank is designed to allow faster loading and increase efficiency for customers, enabling a nameplate export capacity of 1 million tons per year.

The storage tank will be supplied by a 600 million pound ethylene storage cavern located at a complex operated by Enterprise in Mont Belvieu, TX. Enterprise management said it has the ability to accommodate additional storage for ethylene, a feedstock used for a number of consumer products such as cell phones and computer parts, food packaging and personal protective equipment.

Enterprise and Navigator shipped the first ethylene cargo, 25 million pounds purchased by Japan’s Marubeni Corp., from the Morgan’s Point terminal in January 2020.

The Morgan’s Point facility “is the largest and most reliable supply source for waterborne ethylene in the world,” A.J. “Jim” Teague, co-CEO of Enterprise’s general partner, said. “The terminal is backed by the supply of the entire U.S. Gulf Coast via our growing ethylene midstream services, which include our open access storage and market hub in Mont Belvieu.

“Our ethylene export, storage, and transportation services highlight our vision to provide midstream services for the petrochemicals industry that allow our customers to focus on their unique competitive advantages in the U.S. and in growing international markets.”

Navigator Holdings Executive Chairman David Butters praised the “high-quality talent and dedicated team assigned to this project” for bringing the infrastructure online during the coronavirus pandemic. “We expect the terminal to operate at capacity, utilizing Enterprise’s vast interconnected ethylene platform, and to create strong demand for Navigator’s fleet of specialized ethylene capable vessels.”

Enterprise provides a range of midstream services for natural gas, natural gas liquids, crude oil, refined products and petrochemicals. The partnership boasts roughly 50,000 miles of pipelines, 14 Bcf of natural gas storage capacity and 260 million bbl of storage capacity for crude oil, NGL, refined products and petrochemicals.

Navigator provides seaborne transportation of petrochemical gases, including ethylene and ethane, liquefied petroleum gas and ammonia.