Orbit Gulf Coast NGL Exports, a joint venture between US midstream company Energy Transfer and Satellite Petrochemical USA, has loaded the first very large ethane carrier (VLEC) at its Nederland Terminal in Texas, US.
The Seri Everest, the world’s largest VLEC, was loaded with more than 911,000 bbl of ethane, and left Orbit’s terminal on 17 January 2021, bound for Satellite’s ethane cracker in Lianyungang, Jiangsu Province, in China. It is the largest single shipment of ethane ever. The Seri Everest is expected to arrive at Lianyungang Port in mid-February 2021.
Energy Transfer and Satellite announced in March 2018 that they would set up the Orbit JV to build the ethane export terminal at Nederland. It is one of only three ethane export terminals in the US and has a 1.2 million bbl ethane storage tank and a refrigeration facility with capacity of 180,000 bpd. Under the terms of the JV, Energy Transfer is the operator of the facility, the assets of which also include a 20” pipeline which delivers ethane to the Nederland terminal from Energy Transfer’s fractionation and storage facilities in Mont Belvieu, Texas. Energy Transfer has a long-term agreement in place to supply 150,000 bpd of ethane to Satellite, as well as storage and marketing services.
Energy Transfer has another ethane terminal, which can also handle VLECs, at Marcus Hook in Pennsylvania. The two terminals between them represent more than 50% of the US waterborne ethane export capacity.