Enterprise to build isobutane unit at Texas Gulf Coast

Enterprise Products Partners LP (EPP), Houston, will build a new isobutane dehydrogenation (iBDH) unit at the US Gulf Coast as part of a strategy to boost utilization capacity at the company’s existing downstream octane-enhancement and petrochemical operations in the region.

To be built in Mont Belvieu, Tex., the iBDH unit will be able to produce 425,000 tonnes/year of both high and low-purity isobutylene for use primarily as feedstock at EPP’s olefins assets to expand production of lubricants, rubber products, alkylate for gasoline blendstock, and methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) for export, the operator said on Jan. 30.

Supported by long-term contracts with investment-grade customers, the iBDH unit is scheduled to complete construction during fourth-quarter 2019, according to EPP.

PDH project update

The new iBDH project comes as part of EPP’s $6.7 billion capital investment in growth projects planned for startup between now and 2019, including the previously announced propane dehydrogenation unit (PDH) at Mont Belvieu (OGJ Online, Mar. 18, 2014).

The new Mont Belvieu PDH unit, which is the largest of these capital-growth projects, is slated to begin commercial operations in second-quarter 2017, EPP told investors on Jan. 30 in reporting financial results for fourth-quarter and yearend 2016.

In mid-2012, EPP announced it would build a 35,000-b/d PDH unit capable of producing up to 1.65 billion lb/year—about 750,000 tpy—of polymer-grade propylene on the Texas Gulf Coast to take advantage of low-cost propane derived from increased NGL production out of nearby shale gas development (OGJ Online, June 21, 2012).

Originally scheduled for startup in second-half 2015, delayed commissioning of the PDH unit followed EPP’s transition to a new primary construction contractor in December 2015, according to an early January presentation from the operator.

With 100% of its capacity subscribed under fee-based contracts averaging 15 years with investment-grade companies, the new PDH plant at Mont Belvieu now will have a propane processing capacity of 30,000 b/d instead of its initially planned 35,000 b/d capacity, EPP said in the presentation.

Contact Robert Brelsford at rbrelsford@ogjonline.com.

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