Enterprise Scores Second Commitment for New Ethane Pipeline

Enterprise Products Partners have scored another customer, Range Resources, for their ethane pipeline that will connect the Marcellus and Utica Shales to the Gulf Coast. The 1,230 mile pipeline, dubbed the ATEX Express (Appalachia to Texas) will transport ethane from Washington County, PA to (at first) Cape Girardeau, MO—that’s new pipeline construction. And from Cape Girardeau, Enterprise will reverse an existing 16-inch diameter pipeline and place it into ethane service, going all the way to Mont Belvieu, TX.

The first customer to publicly announce they would sign up to use the new ethane pipeline was Chesapeake Energy, back in November (see this MDN story). Chesapeake’s deal is to transport 75,000 barrels of ethane per day when the new pipeline goes online. Today’s announcement from Range Resources adds another 20,000 barrels per day. The pipeline will have an initial capacity of 125,000 barrels per day when it goes online.

Range Resources Corporation announced today that one of its subsidiaries has signed an agreement to ship up to 20,000 barrels of ethane per day on Enterprise Products Partners L.P.’s Appalachia-to-Texas ethane pipeline ("ATEX Express").  Enterprise’s ATEX Express open season ended on January 23rd.  Range’s 20,000 barrels per day commitment gives the Company anchor shipper status on ATEX Express with a transportation rate of 14.5 cents per gallon. Range will use its transportation arrangements on ATEX Express to deliver ethane to Mont Belvieu customers along the Gulf Coast as well as operational flow between its expected various customers at various delivery points in the future. ATEX Express will originate in southwest Pennsylvania with a delivery interconnect at MarkWest’s Houston, Pennsylvania processing, fractionation and de-ethanization facilities, where Range is the principal producer, and transport the ethane to Enterprises’ storage complex at Mont Belvieu. The ATEX Express is currently anticipated to commence operations in the first quarter of 2014. This arrangement will provide Range direct or indirect access to a majority of the ethylene plants in the United States. Range has previously announced a sales and transportation arrangement to deliver up to 15,000 barrels of ethane per day to Sarnia, Canada beginning in 2013 via the Sunoco Logistics / MarkWest Energy Mariner West project. Range is in discussions with a number of other domestic and international companies regarding additional ethane sales and transportation arrangements.

Commenting, Jeff L. Ventura, Range’s President and CEO, said, "It is encouraging to see all the components come together to allow us to commence ethane extraction from our liquids-rich Marcellus production. Ethane extraction will materially enhance our revenues and will allow us to better utilize our existing natural gas transportation arrangements. In particular, the ATEX Express will allow us to tap into the most attractive ethane market in North America. As we continue to pursue additional markets both in the United States and globally, we will seek to add to the mix of ethane pricing arrangements within our ethane sales portfolio."*

*Range Resources (Jan 26, 2012) – Range Signs Second Ethane Agreement