The pace of midstream projects slowed as 2018 came to a close, and the federal government shutdown that continued into the new year did little to lift spirits. However, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), unaffected by the budget battle, continued to operate and accelerated its approval process for LNG terminal permits.

“Speeding up of the approval process would provide relief for the terminal operators, the gas producers and the gas buyers who are waiting for infrastructure to export the domestic production internationally,” e analysts for Stratas Advisors wrote. “Many companies announced [in the fourth] quarter that FERC has provided them with approvals necessary to move to the next stage of the regulatory process.”

Permian Basin
Phillips 66 Partners, ranked No. 20 on Hart Energy’s Midstream 50 list, held an open season that began in November for the expansion of its 850-mile Gray Oak Pipeline, which will move crude from the Permian Basin to Corpus Christi, Sweeny and Freeport, Texas. The pipeline could expand to 900,000 barrels per day (Mbbl/d) depending on the outcome of the open season.

The pipeline is expected to be in service by the end of 2019, and the expansion, in service by fourth-quarter 2020.

Wolf Midstream Partners LLC pursued producer commitments for its proposed Red Wolf Crude Connector, a new crude oil pipeline to serve the Midland Basin, in late in 2018. Before the year was out, the company was doing the same for a pipe of a different color, the Gray Wolf Crude Connector.

The pipelines connect at the origination point near Big Spring, Texas, in Howard County and offer capacities of 120 Mbbl/d. When built, they will connect to Wolf’s crude oil terminal and downstream connections near Colorado City, Texas. Gray Wolf will provide multiple joint tariff options to access the Corpus Christi/Ingleside export market.

Gulf Coast
Cheniere Energy Inc. celebrated the long-awaited opening of its Corpus Christi LNG export facility, then celebrated again about a month later when the Liberian-flagged Maria Energy departed with the first cargo of LNG to ever be shipped from Texas. A second train received the go-ahead from FERC in first-quarter 2019 to begin commissioning and the company made a final investment decision on Train 3 in 2018.

The ACE Pipeline System partners—Phillips 66 Partners, Harvest Midstream and PPF Logistics—launched a binding expansion open season in January for a 400 Mbbl/d project in Louisiana. ACE will provide move oil from the St. James, La., market hub to refineries in Belle Chasse, Meraux and Chalmette, La.

The system will include a newbuild segment to St. James to connect with Harvest’s existing CAM pipeline. Depending on interest, the partners are considering adding a delivery destination in Clovelly, La., as well. ACE is expected to go into service in second-half 2020.

Energy Transfer LP, No. 2 on the Midstream 50 list, made good on its promise to put its Mariner East 2 NGL pipeline into service by the end of 2018, beating its deadline by two days. The 350-mile pipe—beset by delays—began moving ethane, propane and butane from Ohio to the Marcus Hook Industrial Complex outside Philadelphia, where the NGL will be shipped to domestic and international points.

The Dallas-based company added that it expects the pipeline’s sister project, Mariner East 2X, to be in service by the end of 2019.

Canyon Midstream Partners II LLC is expanding its brand-new Redcliff cryogenic gas processing plant in Woodward County, Okla., increasing capacity from 200 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d) to 240 MMcf/d. Redcliff is connected to a sprawling pipeline system that includes 180 miles of gathering lines and five field compressor stations in Oklahoma’s Woodward, Dewey, Blaine and Canadian counties.

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