Energy Transfer Upping NGL Investments as Oil Pipeline in Doubt

(Reuters) — Energy Transfer LP executives said the company is deepening its investments in natural gas liquids (NGLs) as crude oil pipeline shipments decline and as the company faces the possible closure of its Dakota Access line.

Crude oil volumes on Energy Transfer's pipeline network fell to about 3.5 million barrels per day (bpd) in the three months ended Dec. 31 from roughly 4.3 million the same period a year earlier as the coronavirus pandemic curtailed production and lowered refinery oil demand, the company said.

Dakota Access pipeline construction
Dakota Access pipeline construction

The company earlier on Wednesday said it would buy Enable Midstream Partners to strengthen its natural gas transportation business. It said it recently executed the single largest shipment of ethane to date from its Nederland, Texas export terminal, said Thomas Long, co-chief executive officer, on a call with investors.

As part of its acquisition of Enable, Energy Transfer will increase its gathering and processing system in Texas and Oklahoma's Anadarko Basin, one of the biggest natural gas reserves in North America.

The Dallas-based pipeline and storage company also expects to complete its expanded Mariner East NGL pipeline in Pennsylvania the third quarter of 2021.

Volumes on Energy Transfer's 557,000 bpd Dakota Access oil pipeline from the Bakken shale region in North Dakota to Patoka, Illinois, have declined as it faces the possibility of being shut down by a federal court or the U.S. government.

Long said the company expects the pipeline will not be shut but is waiting for decisions by the court and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Long said operations have been affected by severe cold weather that has curtailed oil and gas production in Texas.

"The situation is changing constantly, and our team is addressing these challenges on an hour by hour basis as best as possible," he said.


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