With an eye on connecting Permian Basin producers to domestic and international markets, Enterprise Products Partners LP (EPD) has started commercial operations at a cryogenic natural gas processing plant in Loving County, TX.

The Mentone plant in the Delaware sub-basin has the capacity to process 300 MMcf/d of natural gas and extract more than 40,000 b/d of natural gas liquids (NGL). EPD began construction on the plant, which is supported by a long-term acreage dedication agreement, in 2018.

EPD also has constructed 66 miles of large-diameter gathering and residue pipelines and expanded compression capabilities that link Mentone to the partnership’s NGL and Texas intrastate natural gas pipeline networks, including the Shin Oak pipeline that went into service last year. To accommodate the increase in NGLs, Enterprise also is constructing 300,000 b/d of fractionation capacity at its No. 1 NGL complex in Mont Belvieu, TX.

Mentone is EPD’s seventh natural gas processing plant in the Delaware and increases its total capacity in the Permian to more than 1.6 Bcf/d of natural gas processing and more than 250,000 b/d of NGL extraction.

“These assets provide critical infrastructure to facilitate growing natural gas and NGL production in the region, which is expected to increase by more than 60% over the next five years,” said Enterprise’s Brent Secrest, chief commercial officer of the general partner. “The addition of Mentone also enhances access to our fully integrated midstream network of assets linking producers in the Delaware Basin to domestic and international demand.”

EPD last year also brought online the third train at its Orla cryogenic natural gas processing plant in West Texas, increasing capacity at the Reeves County facility in the Permian to 900 MMcf/d and pushing liquids production to 140,000 b/d-plus.

EPD announced last week that it increased its quarterly distribution for the 62nd consecutive quarter, to 44.5 cents/share, which is up 2.3% over the 4Q2018 distribution. The company is scheduled to release its 4Q2019 earnings on Jan. 30.