Nearly two-thirds of the effective NGL pipeline takeaway capacity out of the Permian is controlled by Energy Transfer Partners and DCP Midstream. But there are several other NGL pipelines used to flow Permian NGLs to faraway storage facilities and fractionators — assuming, that is, that their natural gas processing plants are connected to the pipe alternatives in question. Today we continue our blog series on the NGL side of the Permian with a look at Enterprise Products Partners’ Chaparral and Seminole pipelines and Enterprise’s and BP’s Rio Grande Pipeline, including the volumes of NGLs that have been flowing through them.
Exploration and production companies (E&Ps) active in the Permian are primarily in pursuit of crude oil, but as we said in Part 1 of this series, oil wells in the play also produce large volumes of associated natural gas and natural gas liquids (NGLs) that add considerable monetary value of their own. The region already is producing 2.3 million barrels a day (MMb/d) of crude oil and 6.6 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of dry natural gas, and under RBN’s Growth Scenario those numbers are expected to rise to 3.7 MMb/d and 12 Bcf/d, respectively, by 2022. The growth outlook for Permian NGLs is similar. Nearly 800 Mb/d are being produced today, and five years from now the region’s NGL output could top 1.4 MMb/d, a prospective increase of nearly 80%.
Almost all of the associated gas that emerges from Permian wells needs to be run through natural gas processing plants (which separate raw gas into dry gas and mixed NGLs), and then the dry gas and NGLs (also known as y-grade or raw mix) need to flow through takeaway pipelines — gas to storage or directly to end users, and NGLs to storage for subsequent fractionation into purity products: ethane, propane, normal butane, isobutane and natural gasoline.