Enterprise Products Partners and UK-based shipping company Navigator have started construction of their ethylene export terminal on the Houston Ship Channel in Texas.
The 50/50 joint venture terminal will be located at Enterprise’s Morgan’s Point facility.
According to the partners, the new US Gulf Coast terminal will be capable of exporting about 2.2 billion pounds of ethylene annually.
As part of the project, a refrigerated storage facility that can store up to 66 million pounds of ethylene is being built on-site. This facility will offer the capability to load ethylene at rates of 2.2 million pounds per hour.
The new ethylene export terminal is expected to begin commercial operations in the fourth quarter of 2019, which will be a quarter earlier than previous estimations, said the partners.
In a joint statement, the companies said: “By providing access to international markets, the new export terminal will facilitate continued growth of domestic ethylene production, which is expected to reach 90 billion pounds per year by 2021.
“In addition, the terminal being constructed by Enterprise and Navigator will promote supply diversification for expanding markets like Asia, which rely on cost-advantaged U.S. feedstocks.”
The new ethylene export facility was proposed by the parties in late January. The export terminal has secured commitments from anchor customers such as US-based ethylene producer Flint Hills Resources and an undisclosed Japanese trading major.
In another development, Enterprise said that its ethylene salt dome storage facility in Mont Belvieu, Texas is slated to commence operations in the second quarter of 2019.
After its completion, the storage facility will be capable of storing around 600 million pounds with an injection/withdrawal rate of 420,000 pounds per hour. The facility will be designed to allow connections to the eight ethylene pipelines within a half-mile of the ethylene storage system of Enterprise.
The company is also laying out a new ethylene pipeline from Mont Belvieu to Bayport, Texas, which is expected to enter into operations in 2020.
Enterprise said that the section from Mont Belvieu to Morgan’s Point is likely to begin service in 2019 to support the export terminal.