Our Natural Gas Liquids (NGLs) Segment transports, stores, and executes acquisition and marketing activities utilizing an integrated network of pipeline assets, storage and blending facilities, and strategic off-take locations that provide access to multiple NGL markets.
NGLs are hydrocarbons that can be gathered and processed. NGLs are separated from the natural gas stream through a process called fractionation into purity products such as ethane, propane, butane, iso butane, and pentane. These purity products can be used in petrochemical plants, burned for home heating and cooking, and blended into gasoline. Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) is derived from refinery processing of crude oil in addition to natural gas processing. LPG consists of propane and butane and is used in a wide variety of industries such as agricultural, industrial, commercial and residential.
This segment includes approximately 900 miles of NGLs pipelines, primarily related to our Mariner systems in the northeast and southwest United States. Revenues on our NGLs pipelines are generated from tariffs paid by shippers utilizing our transportation services. These tariffs are filed with FERC and other state and Canadian regulatory agencies, as applicable.
- Our Mariner East project transports NGLs from the Marcellus and Utica Shales areas in Western Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Eastern Ohio to destinations in Pennsylvania, including our Marcus Hook Industrial Complex on the Delaware River, where they are processed, stored and distributed to local, domestic and waterborne markets. The first phase of the project, referred to as Mariner East 1, consisted of interstate and intrastate propane and ethane service and commenced operations in the fourth quarter of 2014 and the first quarter of 2016, respectively. The second phase of the project, referred to as Mariner East 2, will expand the total takeaway capacity to 345 thousand barrels per day for interstate and intrastate propane, ethane and butane service, and is expected to commence operations in the first half of 2017.
- The Mariner South pipeline is part of a joint project with a subsidiary of ETP to deliver export-grade propane and butane products from Mont Belvieu, Texas storage and fractionation complex to our marine terminal in Nederland, Texas. The pipeline has a capacity of approximately 200 thousand barrels per day and can be scaled depending on shipper interest.
- The Mariner West pipeline provides transportation of ethane products from the Marcellus shale processing and fractionating areas in Houston, Pennsylvania to Marysville, Michigan and the Canadian border. Mariner West has a capacity to transport approximately 50 thousand barrels per day of ethane.
In addition to crude oil activities, the Nederland terminal also provides approximately 1 million barrels of storage and distribution services for NGLs in connection with the Mariner South pipeline project referred to above, which commenced operations in December 2014. The project provides transportation of propane and butane products from the Mont Belvieu region to the Nederland terminal, where such products can be delivered via ship.
Marcus Hook Industrial Complex
The Marcus Hook Industrial Complex includes terminalling and storage assets, with a capacity of approximately 3 million barrels of NGL storage capacity. The facility can receive NGLs via marine vessel, pipeline, truck and rail, and can deliver via marine vessel, pipeline and truck. In addition to providing NGLs storage and terminalling services to both affiliates and third-party customers, the Marcus Hook Industrial Complex currently serves as an off-take outlet for our Mariner East 1 system.
The Inkster terminal, located near Detroit, Michigan, contains eight salt caverns with a total storage capacity of approximately 1 million barrels of NGLs. We use the Inkster terminal's storage in connection with our Toledo North pipeline system and for the storage of NGLs from local producers and a refinery in Western Ohio. The terminal can receive and ship by pipeline in both directions and has a truck loading and unloading rack.
NGLs Acquisition & Marketing
Our NGLs acquisition and marketing activities include the acquisition, blending, marketing and selling of such products at our various terminals and third-party facilities. We continue to expand our butane blending service platform by installing our patented blending technology at certain of our terminals and third-party facilities, as well as the continued development of the Marcus Hook Industrial Complex. To learn more about this business see our Butane Blending page.
These projects will provide a comprehensive takeaway solution for natural gas liquids from the Marcellus Shale.