Enterprise Products Partners L.P. (Enterprise) and Navigator Holdings Ltd. (Navigator) have announced the execution of a letter of intent to jointly develop an ethylene marine export terminal on the Houston Ship Channel. Enterprise would manage the construction, operations and commercial activities of the proposed terminal, which would be located at Enterprise's Morgan's Point complex. Enterprise's Morgan's Point facility has a 45 ft draft and includes Enterprise's ethane marine export terminal, the world's largest. Navigator Gas has extensive experience with ethylene shipping through its fleet of 14 ethylene-capable vessels that provide a virtual pipeline to deliver ethylene to consuming customers.
The ethylene export terminal would be connected to Enterprise's high capacity ethylene salt dome storage and ethylene pipeline system, which is currently under construction. Enterprise's ethylene storage facility will have approximately 600 million lbs of capacity with an injection/withdrawal rate of 210 000 lbs/hr expandable to 420 000 lbs/hr. Enterprise's ethylene pipeline system will be connected to multiple producers and consumers of ethylene on the US Gulf Coast.
The US petrochemical industry is expanding its ethylene production capacity by 45% between 2016 and 2020, based on currently announced projects. These expansions are driven by plentiful, low cost supplies of natural gas and ethane as a result of the development of US shale reserves. Almost 90% of these expansions are at facilities located along the Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coast. Enterprise's ethylene storage and pipeline system, together with the proposed ethylene export terminal, would provide the petrochemical industry with logistical flexibility and an outlet to international markets.
"We are very pleased to work with Navigator Gas in efforts to commercialise an industry leading ethylene marine export terminal on the Houston Ship Channel with unsurpassed connectivity to ethylene producers and pipeline and storage infrastructure," said A.J. "Jim" Teague, chief executive officer of the general partner of Enterprise. "Customers would have the ability to manage the transportation and storage of ethylene supplies from the tailgate of producing facilities to domestic and international consuming derivative plants. The proposed ethylene export terminal would provide US petrochemical companies critical market diversification rather than relying solely on polyethylene export markets."
"A strategically located ethylene export terminal is the key to unlocking growing petrochemical production capacity in the US. We are proud to work with Enterprise, with their proven commercial and technical capabilities, on a project that promises to meet the needs of our customers and provides the seamless transportation of ethylene from the producer to the customer," commented David Butters, chief executive officer of Navigator Gas.
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