“Midstream Knife Fight” – Who Will Have 1st Operational NGL Pipeline to Gulf?

In the race to be the first pipeline to flow ethane from the Marcellus/Utica region to a cracker plant elsewhere, it looks like Sunoco Logistics may have won. Their Mariner West pipeline to Sarnia, Canada has been in testing since July and due to turn throw the valve wide open in November, according to Range Resources (see Range Resources 3Q13: Nearing 1 Bcf/d, Rev Up 29%, Costs Down 12%). However, not to be outdone, the Appalachia to Texas Express (ATEX) ethane pipeline being built by Enterprise Products Partners now says they will go fully online in December, months ahead of schedule (see ATEX Ethane Pipeline to Begin Pumping Dec 2013, Ahead of Schedule). Both pipelines going online a month apart? We’d call it a photo finish with Mariner West winning by a nose.

Now everyone’s attention is turning to mixed NGL (natural gas liquids) pipelines. There’s another horse race heating up. Williams and Boardwalk Pipeline Partners are building the Bluegrass pipeline to the Gulf Coast (see Bluegrass Pipeline Launches Open Season, on Track for 2015 Launch). And then there is Kinder Morgan and MarkWest Utica who have joined forces to build a mixed NGL pipeline to the Gulf Coast too (see 2 New OH Projects: Cryo Processing Plant & NGL Pipeline to Gulf). Which one will be the first to go operational? Several analysts weigh in with their colorful opinions…

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