Phillips 66 to build $1 billion LPG export terminal

HOUSTON — Phillips 66 is planning to build a liquefied petroleum gas export terminal in Freeport, Texas, a $1 billion push to tap international markets for refined products used in gasoline blending and heating, the company said Thursday.

The Houston-based oil refiner said it plans to assemble an export capacity of 4.4 million barrels per month by 2016, about the size of eight very large gas carries. That’s nearly a fourth of the capacity that two proposed Enterprise Products Partners LPG terminals in the Gulf Coast are expected to have in late 2015.

Phillips 66 expects to build the facility, which is in early engineering design stages, at its marine terminal in Freeport. The company’s Sweeny complex in Old Ocean, Texas, and its Gulf Coast Fractionators facility in Mont Belview, Texas, would provide the new facility’s supply of liquefied petroleum gas.

News of the company’s first such facility comes a day after Phillips 66 executives announced profit growth in its midstream and chemicals businesses, which they expect get the lion’s share of next year’s $2.5 billion to $3 billion capital budget.

We are looking at a rapidly changing energy landscape that presents excellent opportunities in the natural gas liquids piece of our midstream business,” Tim Taylor, an executive vice president for the company,  said in a written statement.

The LPG export facility would bolster the company’s midstream growth strategy, and “there are attractive markets outside of the U.S. for products like butane and propane,” Taylor said.

Butane and propane, liquefied petroleum gas products derived from natural gas liquids, are used in motor gasoline blending and the heating of air conditioning and household appliances, according to the Energy Information Administration.

The facility would also create 25 permanent jobs and “hundreds of temporary construction jobs” in the region, said Dean Acosta, a spokesman for Phillips 66.

U.S. LPG exports will grow by more than 500,000 barrels per day between 2011 and 2017, according to an EIA projection.