ExxonMobil Corp., one of the biggest leaseholders and producers in the Permian Basin, signed a letter of intent to take capacity on the proposed Permian Highway Pipeline (PHP) Project, designed to carry up to 2 Bcf/d to the Texas coast and beyond.

Under the letter of intent, subsidiary XTO Energy Inc. could contract for up to 450,000 Dth/d of capacity, according to PHP sponsors Kinder Morgan Texas Pipeline LLC (KMTP), EagleClaw Midstream Ventures LLC and Apache Corp.

“We are committed to supporting development of the infrastructure needed for our planned production growth in the Permian Basin,” said XTO President Sara Ortwein. “The Permian Highway Pipeline will provide additional capacity for reliable transportation of natural gas to the U.S. Gulf Coast.”

The estimated $2 billion greenfield project would provide another outlet for surging gas production from the basin. As designed, the 42-inch diameter PHP would traverse 430 miles from the Waha hub in West Texas to Katy, near Houston, with connections to the Gulf Coast and Mexico markets.

PHP could be in service by late 2020, subject to securing definitive agreements and construction permits.

Kinder Morgan Inc.’s KMTP and EagleClaw, a Blackstone Energy Partners portfolio company, would be initial partners, each holding a half-stake in the project. Apache and EagleClaw would be shippers, with each planning to commit up to 500,000 Dth/d.

Apache also would have the option to acquire equity. KMTP would build and operate the pipeline.

Having “an like ExxonMobil support our project” is important, said Kinder Morgan’s Sital Mody, who runs the natural gas midstream arm. The partners “are encouraged by the significant progress we have made with our co-developers and other potential shippers to rapidly shore up commitments. We expect this development will accelerate our path to a final investment decision.”

KMTP and EagleClaw are holding an open season for capacity on PHP beginning Friday (Aug. 10). For information, contact Kinder’s Dave Grisko, vice president of business development for the natural gas midstream group at (713) 369-9870.

PHP would complement the Kinder-led 2 Bcf/d Gulf Coast Express (GCX) Pipeline Project now under construction. GCX is the first greenfield pipeline project for gas supplies from the basin, which has seen a marked increase in associated gas production given all the oil drilling. Apache has 500 MMcf/d of transport capacity via GCX to transport its Permian gas from the Alpine High in the Delaware sub-basin.

Also in the last few days, four operators led by Houston’s Targa Resources Corp. rolled out plans to develop the 2 Bcf/d Whistler Pipeline Project, which also would move gas to Gulf Coast markets and beyond.

Targa said a letter of intent is in place for the joint venture project with MPLX LP and NextEra Energy Pipeline Holdings LLC, a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources LLC, as well as WhiteWater Midstream LLC,which is a portfolio company of Denham Capital Management and Ridgemont Energy Partners.

Whistler, proposed as a 42-inch diameter pipeline that would run 450 miles, would transport gas from Waha to NextEra’s Agua Dulce market hub near Corpus Christi in South Texas. From Agua Dulce, a 30-inch diameter pipeline would run 170 miles south and terminate in Wharton County, southwest of Houston.