All the planned new US ethane crackers and expansions, debottlenecks and conversions of existing crackers will need lots of the natural gas liquid (NGL) feedstock. And companies are already racing to boost NGL fractionation capacity and build out pipelines to bring 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 come on 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 come on in the second quarter of 2013, to process gas from the Utica Shale. It is part of a $900m (€676m) investment in natural gas infrastructure. Others building or upgrading NGL fractionators include Dominion, Williams and Chevron Phillips Chemical.
And pipeline projects abound to bring NGLs to the US Gulf Coast as well as Sarnia, Canada – two major petrochemical hubs.
In the coming weeks, we’ll attempt to document the infrastructure build-out and determine whether it will be enough to feed the petrochemical beast.