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Plant has strategic location

BP Amoco boosts production at Pascagoula plant

PASCAGOULA – The largest new natural gas processing plant built in the past 25 years in the U.S., BP Amoco’s Pascagoula Gas Processing Plant, recently announced the start-up of the second of two natural gas processing trains or operations.

The $140-million plant now has the capacity to process one billion cubic feet of natural gas daily (bcfd), 500 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd) in each of its two trains. BP Amoco operates the plant and holds 60% interest. Enterprise Products Partners L.P. of Houston, Texas holds the remaining 40% interest.

“The Pascagoula Gas Processing Plant is strategically located for BP Amoco and other gas producers in the Gulf of Mexico,” said Boyd Anderson, vice president of BP Amoco’s natural gas liquids business unit. “We planned for the second train to be available in time to process and market the gas produced from BP Amoco’s Marlin field in the deepwater Gulf, which soon starts production. We’re very pleased to complete this complex, high-technology project right on schedule.”

The plant now is processing more than 600 mmcfd of natural gas, and producing more than 15,000 barrels per day (bpd) of natural gas liquids, a mixture of ethane, propane, butane and natural gasoline. Expected production from Marlin ultimately is projected to add an additional 250 mmcfd.

Anderson said the Pascagoula plant offers ethane recovery in excess of 80%, and it can recover 98% of the propane and virtually 100% of the butane and natural gasoline. At one bcfd inlet, the plant can produce more than 50,000 bpd of natural gas liquids.

The Destin Pipeline carries natural gas produced in the Gulf of Mexico directly to the plant, and then delivers the processed gas to five interstate pipelines. The pipeline’s 36-inch diameter offshore mainline extends 76 miles from Main Pass Block 250 in the Gulf of Mexico to the Pascagoula Gas Processing Plant. Destin Pipeline is jointly owned by affiliates of Shell, Sonat and BP Amoco.

Plant manager Dick Moritz said the facility is strategically located to receive natural gas from deepwater fields in the Gulf of Mexico, and to then process that gas for distribution throughout major pipelines in the Southeast.

Interconnections in Mississippi deliver the processed gas to the Koch Gateway Pipeline, Southern Natural Gas, Florida Gas Transmission, Transcontinental Gas Pipeline and Tennessee Gas Pipeline. This provides the processed natural gas to customers throughout the Southeast and East Coast of the United States. Natural gas liquids are delivered to the Tri-States NGL Pipeline, L.L.C., for further delivery to the Baton Rouge Fractionator or the Pro-Mix Fractionator in Louisiana.

“Producers have a lot of flexibility for their product,” Moritz said. “Growth in gas production in the deepwater Gulf is continuing. We are looking at having the plant loaded up next year. So far it has been a very clean and reliable plant. From day one we committed ourselves to design, build and operate the plant to provide outstanding service to producers in the Gulf of Mexico. Our goal is to be best in class in reliability and operating costs. Through a lot of planning and hard work, we’ve already achieved reliability of more than 98.5% to the pipeline.”

Moritz said the plant was designed to minimize air pollution and noise that might affect nearby residents.

“To be a better neighbor, we invested more money in the equipment to ensure less noise with virtually no large flaring,” Moritz said. “We have quiet electric-drive compressors, and we’ve installed a high integrity pressure protection system (HIPPS) to minimize, if not prevent, the need for large flares. Such systems are more common in urban areas of Europe, but we believe this is the first HIPPS installed in the United States.”

Usually such plants use flares to vent excess natural gas if pressure becomes too high in the plant. With the HIPPS system, gas going into the plant is stopped if pressure inside the plant builds up. Moritz said a pressure relief flare to handle a plant the size of the Amoco’s facility in Pascagoula would be very noisy and bright, and would have high greenhouse gas emissions.

Moritz said he was not aware of any complaints about noise from the plant.

“We are actually pretty quiet, and are getting quieter by putting in more noise insulation,” he said.

Enterprise Products Partners L.P. (NYSE: EPD) is a North American midstream energy service company that provides complete processing, fractionation, transportation and storage services to producers and consumers of natural gas liquids and natural gas liquid products.

BP Amoco is an international company involved in the exploration and production of crude oil and natural gas; refining, marketing, supply and transportation of hydrocarbons; and manufacturing and marketing of petrochemicals and solar power generation.

Contact MBJ staff writer Becky Gillette at mullein@datasync.com.

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