Natural gas and NGL production growth in the Marcellus/Utica slowed and then leveled off in the early 2020s, largely due to gas-pipeline takeaway constraints. Still, the Northeast remains a key supplier of natural gas and NGL “purity products,” and Energy Transfer’s NGL pipelines and Philadelphia-area marine terminal continue to play critical roles in balancing the region’s ethane and LPG markets. In today’s RBN blog, we continue our series on the U.S.’s robust-and-growing networks of NGL pipelines, fractionators and export terminals, this time with a look at Energy Transfer’s Mariner West and Mariner East pipeline systems and the company’s Marcus Hook terminal.
In Part 1 of this series, we said that the rise in U.S. NGL production in the 2010s was accompanied by a massive build-out of NGL-related infrastructure: everything from gas gathering systems and gas processing plants to NGL pipelines, fractionators, ethane-consuming steam crackers along the Gulf Coast (and in western Pennsylvania), and export terminals capable of loading and sending out ethane, propane, butanes and natural gasoline. While we wrote countless blogs about this build-out, what we haven’t done, at least until now, is discuss in holistic terms the NGL networks that a handful of large midstream companies own and operate.
Given that Energy Transfer (ET) owns major midstream systems for NGLs in both Texas and the Northeast, it seemed logical to start our new series with them. In Part 1, we focused on ET’s interconnected NGL-related assets in the Lone Star State, which include gas processing plants; pipelines for transporting mixed NGLs (a.k.a. Y-grade) to the Mont Belvieu fractionation center (where ET owns seven fractionators and is finishing an eighth); underground, salt-cavern storage; purity product pipelines from Mont Belvieu to Nederland, TX; and Nederland Terminal, which has product refrigeration capacity, dedicated refrigerated storage, and several export docks.
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