Enterprise starts up expanded LPG export facility on Houston Ship Channel

Enterprise Products has commenced operations at its expanded export facility, increasing the partnership’s capability to load propane, butane and isobutane (LPG), the company said on Thursday.

Located on the Houston Ship Channel, the marine terminal complex is owned by Oiltanking Partners.

Enterprise also announced that it and Oiltanking have 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 company said. 

The loading capacity for low-ethane propane increases from the current rate of almost 4 million bbl/month to approximately 7.5 million bbl/month. The expanded facility also provides customers with improved access to export domestically-produced LPGs to growing international markets, according to Enterprise officials.

The amended terminal service agreement with Oiltanking also gives Enterprise additional operating flexibility, the company said, 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 said it is currently evaluating an additional expansion that would increase the partnership’s propane export capacity up to 10 million bbl/month. It 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 US 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, the company says. 

Complementing the partnership’s export dock initiative is an expansion of the Panama Canal. Scheduled to begin operations in the second quarter of 2015, company officials say the project should provide Enterprise customers with greater flexibility, including improved access to Asian markets.

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