The suits in the C-suite at Houston-based Enterprise Products no doubt reserved a moment for applause as its first cargo of ethylene set sail back in December from the company’s new ethylene export terminal at Morgan’s Point. Located along the Houston Ship Channel, the ethylene facility is still under construction but already offering up to 70% of what will be a full 1 million mt/year of capacity by year end. The Enterprise terminal marks the nation’s second ethylene export hub—the first of which is operated by Houston-based Targa Resources and contracted to Mitsubishi Chemical. That terminal has a loading capacity of 1,000 Mt/d.
Enterprise Products Partners L.P. is an American midstream natural gas and crude oil pipeline company with headquarters in Houston, Texas. It acquired GulfTerra in September 2004. The company ranked No. 105 in the 2018 Fortune 500 list of the largest United States corporations by total revenue.
Record volumes of valuable NGLs, such as ethane, propane and butane, are a bonus prize of the country’s shale boom and have found Enterprise Products sitting tall in the export saddle. These gases are used as feedstock in the petrochemical industry to produce ethylene and propylene, which are critical components in the manufacture of products such as plastics. With global demand of ethylene and propylene expected to rise by 5.5% through 2027 from major growth markets in Asia-Pac, Enterprise continues to invest in its NGL midstream and downstream export infrastructure. The company plans to bring online two more fractionators among the dozens it operates by end year to make propylene and isobutylene and will increase its ship-loading capacities of propane and butane from 32,000 barrels per hour to 40,000.
A fun fact: More than 95% of U.S. ethylene today is produced in the Texas Gulf Coast and La., with an estimated 16 energy companies now vying to build new petrochemical plants in Texas, La., and Pa. Enterprise Products exports more propane than Saudi Arabia and fuels more than 100 million households in India.
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