DALLAS—Energy Transfer Partners, LP (NYSE: ETP) and Satellite Petrochemical USA Corp. have entered into definitive agreements to form a joint venture, Orbit Gulf Coast NGL Exports, LLC, with the purpose of constructing a new export terminal on the U.S. Gulf Coast to provide ethane to Satellite for consumption at their ethane cracking facilities in China.

Orbit will also construct a 20-inch ethane pipeline originating at ETP’s Mont Belvieu Fractionators that will make deliveries to Orbit’s ethane export terminal on the U.S. Gulf Coast as well as domestic markets in the region. At the terminal, Orbit will construct an 800,000-barrel refrigerated ethane storage tank and a 175,000 barrel per day (bbl/d) ethane refrigeration facility. ETP will be the operator of the Orbit assets.

Additionally, ETP will construct and wholly own the infrastructure that is required to both supply ethane to the pipeline and to load the ethane on to Very Large Ethane Carriers (VLECs) destined for Satellite’s newly constructed ethane crackers in China’s Jiangsu Province. Subject to Chinese governmental approval, it is anticipated that the Orbit export terminal will be ready for commercial service in fourth-quarter 2020.

As part of these agreements, ETP and Satellite also executed agreements for the sale of ethane at the terminal. ETP will provide Satellite with approximately 150,000 bbl/d of ethane under a long-term, demand-based agreement. ETP will also provide storage and marketing services for Satellite.

ETP (via Sunoco Logistics) was the first company in North America to export ethane by utilizing its Mariner West system which exports ethane to Canada. Subsequently, in March 2016 ETP became the first company in North America to export ethane via waterborne vessel out of ETP’s Marcus Hook terminal, which also serves domestic markets.