Commentary: Here comes the US shale gas infrastructure

02 April 2012 00:00  [Source: ICB]

The US will need lots of natural gas liquid (NGL) feedstock with all the planned new ethane crackers and expansions, debottlenecks and conversions of existing crackers. Companies are already racing to boost NGL fractionation capacity and to build pipelines to carry gas from the major shale gas formations to petrochemical facilities.

US natural gas processor Enterprise Products Partners is leading the way with three new 75,000 bbl/day NGL fractionators at its Mont Belvieu, Texas, hub - one will go on line in the fourth quarter of 2012 and two in the fourth quarter of 2013.

Meanwhile, a Chesapeake Energy-led partnership is building a 90,000 bbl/day NGL fractionator in Harrison County, Ohio, to go on line in the second quarter of 2013, processing Utica Shale gas as part of a $900m (€676m) gas infrastructure investment. Other companies building or upgrading NGL fractionators include Dominion, Williams and Chevron Phillips Chemical.

At the same time, there is an abundance of pipeline projects to take NGLs to two major petrochemical hubs, the US Gulf Coast and Sarnia, Canada.

In the next few weeks, we'll attempt to document the infrastructure build-out and determine whether it will be enough to feed the petrochemical beast.

By: Joseph Chang
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