Friday, March 13, 2009

New Colorado Natural Gas Processing Plant Online

NEW YORK, March 12 (Reuters) - Enterprise Products Partners LP (EPD.N) said on Thursday it began operations at the Meeker II natural gas processing plant in the Piceance Basin of Colorado, doubling processing capacity to 1.5 billion cubic feet per day.

The Meeker II complex also has the capability to extract up to 70,000 barrels per day of natural gas liquids, the company said in a statement.

Enterprise also began operations at its recently expanded Shilling and Thompsonville gas processing plants in South Texas, and expects the partnership's relocated Chaparral facility in the Permian Basin to begin processing natural gas later in March.

The Meeker complex is supported by long-term commitments from 10 of the largest producers in the Piceance Basin, Enterprise said.

Current inlet volume at Meeker is approximately 750 million cubic feet per day with approximately 38,000 barrels per day of natural gas liquids being extracted.

Natural gas volumes are projected to reach approximately 1.1 bcf per day by the end of 2009, producing approximately 60,000 bpd of natural gas liquids.

"This expansion will facilitate the continuing growth in natural gas production from the Piceance Basin that is expected in 2009 and 2010 despite the effects of the recent decrease in drilling activity. Based on producer estimates, there are over 300 wells that have been completed in the basin that are waiting for pipeline connections," said A.J. Teague, Enterprise executive vice president and chief commercial officer.

Meeker, through its connection with the White River natural gas hub, provides producers with access to markets through connections with six interstate pipelines that have approximately 2.5 bcf per day of total takeaway capacity.

The Chaparral facility was an idle plant acquired in the merger with GulfTerra Energy Partners LP in 2004 and recently relocated from southeast Texas to serve producers in the Permian Basin.

The facility can handle up to 40 mmcf per day of natural gas and extract more than 2,000 bpd of natural gas liquids, serving the partnership's approximately 900-mile (1,450-km) Carlsbad Gathering System in southeast New Mexico.

As part of the project, Enterprise constructed a new 13-mile, 4-inch diameter natural gas liquids pipeline that links the processing plant to TEPPCO Partners LP's (TPP.N) Chaparral pipeline, transporting to the world's largest fractionation complex at Mont Belvieu, Texas.

Additionally, interconnects with major interstate natural gas transmission lines provide producers with access to markets in the western United States.

Expansion projects were also completed and placed into service at two gas processing facilities that are part of Enterprise's South Texas system

At the Shilling plant in Webb County, capacity was increased from 60 mmcf per day to 110 mmcf per day as part of a project that involved relocating equipment from idle plants and modifying existing infrastructure.

The work allowed Enterprise to increase its market share in the region and provide added flexibility in accessing industrial end users along the Gulf Coast and the Houston Ship Channel.

The partnership modified existing equipment rather than build new systems to expand its Thompsonville gas processing plant in Jim Hogg County.

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