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US Gulf Coast ethylene export facility's new storage tank to speed up loadings

Increase font size  Decrease font size Date:2020-12-31   Views:46

  Houston—A new refrigerated storage tank now in service at a US Gulf Coast ethylene export terminal jointly owned by Enterprise Products Partners and British liquefied gas carrier Navigator will allow the facility to load vessels faster and achieve capacity of 1 million mt/year, the companies said Dec. 29.

  As US exports of NGLs and their byproducts have flourished in recent years, thanks to cheap and abundant feedstock supplies generated by prolific shale production , midstream operators have been eager to increase capacity.That's been especially true during the coronavirus pandemic due to supply constraints of certain commodities in certain markets. Enterprise, in particular, has been trying to seize on the opportunities that have opened up to boost its scale and market share. Ethylene is a feedstock for consumer products such as cell phones, apparel and personal protective equipment, which has been in high demand globally during the pandemic.

  The new 30,000-ton storage tank was utilized for the first time when the vessel Navigator Atlas loaded at the ethylene facility along the Houston Ship Channel in Morgan's Point, Texas, on Dec. 23.

  The 21,000 cu m vessel was in the Caribbean Sea on Dec. 29. It listed a captain's destination of Panama's Port of Cristobal, a waypoint for vessels headed through the Panama Canal, according to S&P Global Platts vessel-tracking software cFlow. The Canal is the shortest route from the US Gulf Coast to Asia, a key import market for NGLs.

  According to Enterprise, its facility is the largest supply source for waterborne ethylene in the world. The new tank is supplied by a 600-million-pound ethylene storage cavern at Enterprise's Mont Belvieu hub, also in Texas.

  Robust Asian demand has created the market for more exports from the US as midstream companies strip NGLs from the natural gas produced at the wellhead to create additional revenue streams besides the dry gas that remains. Enterprise's network of gathering systems, processing units and pipeline connections allow it to tie the supply chain together.

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