Enterprise, Western Gas join forces to build new fractionators

Enterprise Products Partners said Wednesday it has entered into a joint venture with Western Gas Partners for its two latest natural gas liquid fractionation trains at its Mont Belvieu hub.

Enterprise will operate the fractionation trains, as the natural gas processing units are called. They are expected to begin commercial operations in the fourth quarter of 2013.

The units will be the seventh and eighth natural gas liquids processing units at the Enterprise facility in Mont Belvieu, adding 170,000 barrels per day of capacity.

In all, Enterprise spokesman Rick Rainey said the company will be able to process about 655,000 barrels per day when the additional units are completed.

The project comes as Enterprise is launching a number of projects to take advantage of the North American production boom.

Enterprise did not disclose the cost of construction, but Rainey said the company has long-term contracts in place for the additional production.

Western Gas, which was acquired by Anadarko Petroleum Corp. in 2006, will own a 25 percent interest in the joint venture.

“This is the third midstream energy infrastructure project in which we have partnered with Anadarko Petroleum Corporation and its affiliates,” Michael A. Creel, chief executive officer of Enterprise’s general partner, said in a written statement. “Anadarko is a strategic partner that has made significant volume dedications to our facilities.”

Natural gas liquids from a variety of basins around the United States are delivered to the Mont Belvieu facility, where the fractionators separate them into component parts, including propane, butane and ethane.

From there, the components are shipped to petrochemical plants or to other customers, Rainey said.