Enterprise Products Partners L.P. announced that it has commenced operations at its expanded export facility, increasing the partnership’s capability to load propane, butane and isobutane (LPG). Located on the Houston Ship Channel, the marine terminal complex is owned by Oiltanking Partners, L.P. (“Oiltanking”). Enterprise also announced that the partnership and Oiltanking have significantly expanded the scope of their long-term terminal service agreement which runs through 2026. This relationship dates back to the early 1980s.
The expansion of Enterprise’s export facility increases the partnership’s capacity to load fully refrigerated LPGs. The loading capacity for low-ethane propane increases from the current rate of almost 4 million barrels per month to approximately 7.5 million barrels per month. This expanded facility provides customers with improved access to export domestically produced LPGs to growing international markets.
The amended terminal service agreement with Oiltanking will provide Enterprise additional operating flexibility including an increase in the number of docks available to load LPG export vessels. Access to these additional docks would support further expansions of Enterprise’s LPG export facility. Enterprise is currently evaluating an additional expansion that would increase the partnership’s propane export capacity up to 10 million barrels per month and could be in service as soon as the beginning of 2015.
“We are pleased to complete the expansion of our LPG export facility and to enhance our relationship with Oiltanking,” said A.J. “Jim” Teague, chief operating officer of Enterprise’s general partner. “There is strong international demand for U.S. propane and we continue to receive strong indications of interest for long-term commitments from customers that could underwrite another expansion of the export facility.”
The combination of the expanded LPG export facility and the partnership’s Mont Belvieu NGL fractionation and storage complex to which it is connected, uniquely positions Enterprise to address both the supply and demand side of the equation. Enterprise’s Mont Belvieu complex is connected to purity NGL pipelines that deliver from fractionators around the country, as well as many of the pipelines that transport mixed NGLs from the majority of the liquids-rich production areas in the United States. Two new NGL fractionators are currently under construction at Mont Belvieu that are expected to increase capacity to separate these mixed NGLs from approximately 485,000 barrels per day (“BPD”) to more than 650,000 BPD by the end of the fourth quarter 2013. Enterprise’s Mont Belvieu complex is also the largest NGL storage facility in North America, with more than 100 million barrels of capacity and has the capability to deliver LPGs to the partnership’s export facility at the high flow rates necessary to meet the loading requirements of international customers.
Complementing the partnership’s export dock initiative is an expansion of the Panama Canal. Scheduled to begin operations in the second quarter of 2015, the project should provide Enterprise customers with greater flexibility, including improved access to Asian markets.