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Energy Transfer Loads First VLEC Under Orbit Gulf Coast NGL Export Joint Venture

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Dallas-based Energy Transfer LP announced Jan. 19 the first ethane shipment for a joint venture involving a new class of maritime vessel. The company’s first Very Large Ethane Carrier (VLEC) has been loaded under its previously announced joint venture with Satellite Petrochemical USA Corp., Orbit Gulf Coast NGL Exports LLC.

The Seri Everest, the world’s largest VLEC, departed from Orbit’s newly constructed export facilities at Energy Transfer’s Nederland Terminal in Nederland, Texas, on Jan. 17, to complete its maiden voyage. The vessel was loaded with more than 911,000 barrels of ethane destined for Satellite’s Lianyungang ethane cracker in northeastern Jiangsu Province, China, the largest single shipment of ethane to date. Its anticipated arrival at Lianyungang Port is mid-February 2021.

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Orbit’s export terminal at Nederland, one of only three U.S. ethane export terminals, includes a 1.2 million barrel ethane storage tank and an estimated 180,000 barrel per day ethane refrigeration facility. Energy Transfer’s Marcus Hook facility in Pennsylvania is also capable of handling VLECs.

The combination of the two terminals represent more than 50 percent of the U.S. waterborne export capacity. Under the joint venture with Satellite, Energy Transfer is the operator of Orbit’s assets, which also include a newly constructed 20-in. pipeline originating at Energy Transfer’s fractionation and storage facilities in Mont Belvieu, Texas, for ethane deliveries to the Nederland export terminal as well as domestic markets in the region.

In association with Orbit, Energy Transfer also completed its build-out of wholly owned infrastructure at Mont Belvieu to supply ethane to Orbit’s pipeline, and at Nederland to load the ethane onto VLECs. Under separate agreements, Energy Transfer will provide Satellite with approximately 150,000 barrels per day (bpd) of ethane under a long-term, demand-based agreement, along with storage and marketing services.

Energy Transfer (via Sunoco Logistics) was the first company to export ethane out of the United States by pipeline. Its Mariner West pipeline first transported ethane to Canada in January of 2013. Energy Transfer was also the first to export ethane out of the U.S. via ship in March of 2016 from its Marcus Hook Terminal in Pennsylvania.

Energy Transfer owns and operates one of the largest and most diversified portfolios of energy assets in the United States, with a strategic footprint in all of the major domestic production basins. The company is a publicly traded limited partnership with core operations that include complementary natural gas midstream, intrastate and interstate transportation and storage assets; crude oil, natural gas liquids (NGL) and refined product transportation and terminalling assets; NGL fractionation; and various acquisition and marketing assets.

Energy Transfer, through its ownership of Energy Transfer Operating LP, also owns Lake Charles LNG Co., as well as the general partner interests, the incentive distribution rights and 28.5 million common units of Sunoco LP, and the general partner interests and 46.1 million common units of USA Compression Partners LP.

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