Last updateMon, 19 Aug 2019 4pm

U.S. HGL Production Reaches 5M Barrels Per Day

U.S. production of hydrocarbon gas liquids (HGLs) reached 5 million barrels per day (b/d) in 2018, an increase of more than 0.5 million b/d (13%) over 2017 levels. HGLs accounted for over a quarter of total U.S. petroleum products output in 2018.

The increase in HGL production since 2010 is largely a result of growing domestic natural gas production. In 2018, U.S. natural gas production, measured as gross withdrawals, averaged 101.3 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d), a 38% increase over 2010 levels and the highest volume on record. As natural gas production has grown, an increasing share of HGLs are produced at natural gas processing plants, from about 75% in 2010 to nearly 90% in 2018.

Enterprise Expanding Ethylene Pipeline Network

Enterprise Products Partners is extending its ethylene pipeline and logistics system further into South Texas. The Baymark ethylene pipeline will originate in the Bayport area of southeast Harris County and extend approximately 90 miles into Matagorda County. The pipeline is scheduled to begin service in the fourth quarter of 2020.

The Baymark Pipeline will provide access to a high-capacity ethylene storage well Enterprise is repurposing at its Mont Belvieu complex, as well as connectivity to the ethylene export terminal currently under construction at Morgan’s Point. The storage well is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2019 and will have a capacity of 600 million pounds. The terminal will have the capacity to export approximately 2.2 billion pounds of ethylene per year and is on schedule to begin service in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Texas Oil & Gas Production Breaking Records

Curious trends are happening in the Texas oil and gas industry, according to the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers March Texas Petro Index (TPI). Despite a decline in the March TPI to 212.4 and in the first quarter 2019, prices continue to improve and Texas crude oil production is still breaking records. A monthly measure of growth rates and cycles in the Texas upstream oil and gas economy, the TPI is based on indicators such as rig count, drilling permits, well completions, and employment, which all remained in decline in March.

“Typically, these E&P indicators decline during an observable, sustained contraction in oil and gas activity, but that doesn’t appear to be what we’re seeing now,” says Karr Ingham, Petroleum Economist for the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers and creator of the TPI. “I do think these decreases can partly—even largely—be attributed to the sharp and unexpected fourth quarter 2018 crude oil price declines, but clearly there are other forces at work. These have become increasingly evident over the course of the current recovery and expansion from the 2014 to 2016 industry downturn.”

U.S. Refiners Would be Hurt by Mexican Tariffs

“Mexico is the No. 2 foreign source of oil to the United States, supplying an average of 658,000 barrels of crude a day in March to ExxonMobil, Valero and other refiners,” CNN Business reports. The heavy oil that Mexico produces is already in short supply due to sanctions on Venezuela.

“US refiners will be forced to either pay the 5% tariff for Mexico's oil or, more likely, pay up for heavy barrels elsewhere. Some of that oil will probably come from Colombia, Brazil, Ecuador, Iraq and Kuwait — countries already shipping heavy crude to Asia and elsewhere.”

Freeport LNG Terminal Set to Expand

The U.S. Department of Energy has approved additional exports of domestically produced natural gas from the Freeport LNG Terminal located on Quintana Island, TX. Under this order, Freeport LNG Expansion, L.P. and FLNG Liquefaction 4, LLC (together, FLEX4) have authority to export up to 0.72 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas as LNG from a fourth liquefaction train (Train 4) to be built at the Freeport LNG Terminal.

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