Enterprise Products Partners is to move ahead with the construction of the planned 1,230-mile Appalachia to Texas pipeline (ATEX Express) in the US.
The company said it has received enough commitments to support development of the pipeline, which will transport ethane from the Marcellus/Utica shale areas of Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio to the US Gulf Coast.
The pipeline will have a capacity to transport as much as 190,000bpd from the Appalachian production areas to the company's Texas storage and distribution facilities.
ATEX Express will originate in Pennsylvania's Washington County, with construction of about 595 miles of new pipeline extending to Cape Girardeau, Missouri.
At Cape Girardeau, the company intends to reverse an existing 16in-diameter pipeline and place it into ethane service.
At the southern terminus of ATEX Express, the company will build a 55-mile pipeline to provide shippers with access to its Mont Belvieu natural gas liquids storage facility in Texas, providing them with direct or indirect access to ethylene plants in the US.
The ATEX Express pipeline is expected to commence commercial operations in 2014.
Enterprise Products Partners' general partner president and CEO Michael Creel said the willingness of shippers to commit to a term of at least 15 years reflects the long-term potential of shale development in the Appalachian region.
"In addition to providing valuable takeaway capacity that gives producers access to the most attractive markets, the ATEX Express pipeline will also serve as an economic driver for the country and the communities in which it will be located," he said.
According to Enterprise Products Partners, the demand for ethane within the Gulf Coast petrochemical market is about 955,00bpd and it continues to increase.