Crosstex Builds ‘Transformational’ Cajun-Sibon Pipeline

By Michael Reed, Contributing Editor | November 2013, Vol. 68 No. 11

During his 30 years in the energy business, Barry Davis has no doubt heard a fair amount of bluster and hyperbole about “big projects.” Yet, even a brief talk with the Crosstex president and CEO about the Cajun-Sibon expansion project leaves the listener keenly aware that in his mind there can be no understating the importance of this endeavor to his company.

“This is a transformational project for us. Just five years ago, we were predominantly a natural gas midstream services company,” said Davis, who engineered a management-led buyout of Comstock Natural Gas, Inc. in 1996 that led to the formation Crosstex Energy Services. “This project on completion will put us at about 50 percent natural gas and 50 percent natural gas liquids, including condensates.”

Beyond signaling just how important the change in direction is for the company, the move further highlights how important the Louisiana market has become. According to Davis, the state currently has a demand for nearly 30 percent of NGLs – an amount that continues to grow.

The Cajun-Sibon expansion project consists of a 139-mile, 12-inch pipeline that will extend Crosstex’s existing 440-mile Cajun-Sibon NGL pipeline system, connecting its Eunice fractionation facility in south central Louisiana to Mont Belvieu supply lines in East Texas.

Additionally, Crosstex will expand the Eunice fractionator from 15,000 bpd to 55,000 bpd, while adding pump stations on the pipeline to increase capacity from 70,000 bpd to 120,000 bpd of “raw make” NGL, or “demethanized mix,” which includes any mixture of any or all of ethane, propane, isobutane, normal butane and natural gasoline.

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This project will also include construction of a new 100,000 bpd fractionator at the company’s Plaquemine, LA gas processing complex and expansion of capacity from Eunice to the new Plaquemine fractionator. Total interconnected fractionation capacity in Louisiana after completion will be 155,000 bpd of NGL. In all, the project will cost about $750 million.

Phase I construction of the Cajun-Sibon pipeline reached reached “mechanical completion” in September with the expanded fractionation facilities to begining in October. A ramp-up to full volumes is likely in the fourth quarter.

“The project will provide a value-add alternative to the Mont Belvieu fractionation and liquids markets,” said Davis. “By connecting the high demand we are seeing in Louisiana with the ample supply of NGL in Texas, Cajun-Sibon will improve the reliability and diversity of NGL supply to the Louisiana petrochemical and refining markets.”