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Enterprise to Expand Butane Isomerization Capacity in Texas


Enterprise Products Partners L.P. EPD intends to augment the capacity at its butane isomerization facility in Mont Belvieu, Texas.

The expansion comprises a 20-year, 35,000 barrel per day (bpd) fee-based, tolling agreement, backed by long-term agreement to provide butane isomerization. Currently, Enterprise is examining two options to develop butane isomerization facilities that will boost incremental capacity by about 30,000 bpd.

Enterprise’s butane isomerization facility at Mont Belvieu has a capacity of 116,000 bpd and is the largest commercial producer of high-purity isobutane in the United States. The facility comprises about 13 million barrels of aggregate isom grade normal butane, storage capacity for high-purity isobutane salt dome and 162 miles of distribution pipelines.

The process of converting normal butane into high-purity isobutene is called butane isomerization. Isobutane is used as feedstock for the petrochemical and refining industries.

The growth of petrochemical and refining industries has been very beneficial for the partnership. The facility expansion reinstates Enterprise’s focus and commitment to growth.

Since its IPO in 1998, Enterprise has successfully executed organic growth projects worth $38 billion and completed acquisitions of about $26 billion. Currently, the partnership has $9.1 billion worth of capital growth projects under construction. Low cost of capital and financial flexibility has helped it achieving one of the highest credit ratings among MLPs of Baa1 / BBB+.

Though it is estimated that Enterprise possesses solid cash flow stability from quality pipeline and storage assets and geographic diversity, volume risk and commodity price exposure can negatively impact near-term results. We are apprehensive about a volatile NGL pricing environment.

Price Performance

Enterprise’s shares have gained 2.2% against the industry’s decline of 5% in the last six months.

Zacks Rank & Key Picks

Enterprise carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). A few better-ranked players in the energy sector include Statoil ASA STO, Pioneer Natural Resources Company PXD and Northern Oil and Gas Inc NOG. All these stocks sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Statoil, based in Norway, is a major international integrated oil and gas company. It saw an average negative earnings surprise of 8.44% in the last four quarters.

Headquartered in Irving, TX, Pioneer Natural Resources Company is an independent oil and gas exploration and production company. The company delivered an average positive earnings surprise of 67.62% in the last four quarters.

Northern Oil and Gas, based in Minnetonka, MN, is an independent energy company. The company delivered an average positive earnings surprise of 175.00% during the same time frame.

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