Texas Ethylene Terminal Loads First Cargo

Texas Ethylene Terminal Loads First Cargo
The first ethylene cargo from Enterprise Products Partners L.P. and Navigator Holdings Ltd.'s new marine terminal near Houston has set sail.

The first cargo of ethylene from Enterprise Products Partners L.P. and Navigator Holdings Ltd.’s new marine terminal near Houston has set sail.

Enterprise and Navigator reported Wednesday that the Navigator Europa – carrying 25 million pounds of ethylene for the Japanese trading company Marubeni Corp. – has departed their new export terminal at Morgan’s Point, Texas, along the Houston Ship Channel.

“The opening of the jointly owned ethylene export terminal represents the beginning of an expansion of the export of valuable intermediate petrochemical gas products including ethylene and propylene,” David Butters, executive chairman of Navigator Gas, said in a written statement issued by 50/50 joint venture partner Enterprise.

A.J. “Jim” Teague, CEO of Enterprise’s general partner, commented that abundant U.S. natural gas liquids (NGL) production has made the U.S. a leading global source of ethylene and has spurred an “unprecedented buildout of mostly ethane crackers” on the Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coast.

“Including a second wave of new petrochemical plants now being developed, production of ethylene is poised to continue growth and is expected to exceed 100 billion pounds per year by 2025,” noted Teague. “We are very pleased to join forces with Navigator to bring this new terminal to fruition, which complements Enterprise’s integrated pipeline and storage network, including the development of open market hubs for ethylene and polymer grade propylene that help ensure price transparency, reliability and flexibility for petrochemical producers and consumers.”

Enterprise stated the new terminal includes two docks and can load 2.2 billion pounds per year of ethylene. The firm added that a refrigerated storage tank for 66 million pounds of ethylene is under construction at the site and will enable the facility to load ethylene at a rate up to 2.2 million pounds per hour. It projects tank construction to conclude in the fourth quarter of this year.

In addition, Enterprise noted the terminal is linked via pipeline to the company’s NGL storage complex in nearby Mont Belvieu. The company noted that it is commissioning a high-capacity ethylene salt dome storage well at the Southeast Texas hub that will be able to store 600 million pounds of the petrochemicals feedstock. It contends the system will serve as an open market storage and trading hub for the ethylene industry.

“By domestically manufacturing these products, highly skilled American jobs are created while at the same time the sale of the petrochemical gases to international customers generates favorable balance of trade and payments,” Butters said, referring to intermediate petrochemical gas products such as ethylene and propylene. “We expect this trend of exporting intermediate petrochemical gases to accelerate, benefiting our specialized tankers. Furthermore, we are working in the development of domestic and international infrastructure projects that will facilitate this important trend.”

Enterprise also stated that it will further extend its ethylene pipeline and logistics system into South Texas via two projects:

  • A 24-mile pipeline linking Mont Belvieu and Bayport, Texas, via Morgan’s Point that should begin service in the fourth quarter of this year
  • The 90-mile Baymark Pipeline that it is building from Bayport to Markham, Texas, and should be completed during the fourth quarter of this year.

According to Enterprise, the new pipelines – supported by long-term customer commitments – will provide access to the Enterprise open market ethylene storage and trading hub for producers and consumers throughout Texas.

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