TULSA — The Williams Cos. Inc. is looking to develop new markets for the United States' booming supply of natural gas liquids.
Williams on Tuesday announced a joint venture with Houston-based Boardwalk Pipeline Partners LP to develop an export facility in Louisiana for liquefied petroleum gas.
The companies said oil and natural gas producers should benefit from the ability to export propane and butane, which constitute about 30 percent of an average barrel of natural gas liquids. Other components like ethane, isobutene and natural gasoline are in demand by U.S. industries, manufacturers and refineries.
The proposed Moss Lake LPG Terminal would be built on the Calcasieu River to serve tanker ships bound for markets in Europe, Asia and Latin America, pending regulatory approval and sufficient customer contracts.
The companies did not disclose the cost of the project.
The terminal is being designed to store 900,000 barrels of refrigerated propane and butane. It will be able to load 25,000 barrels an hour onto tankers.
A portion of the liquids bound for transport would come from the Bluegrass Pipeline being developed by Williams and Boardwalk. It would transport natural gas liquids from shale plays in Pennsylvania and Ohio.
Officials characterized the planned facilities, including a fractionation plant at Moss Lake, as critical infrastructure for the continued development of resources in the Marcellus and Utica shale plays.
Boardwalk CEO Stan Horton said the export terminal would aid in continued production of domestic oil and natural gas that will help the U.S. gain energy independence.
“Taken together, these critical infrastructure projects allow for the efficient movement of NGLs to domestic and global markets and support the development of the United States' own energy resources and the renaissance in America's job-producing manufacturing complex,” Horton said.
The companies said the infrastructure projects could be in service by late 2015.