Logistics & Marketing Segment
Our Logistics and Marketing segment is also referred to as our Downstream Business. Our Downstream Business includes the activities and assets necessary to convert mixed NGLs into NGL products and also includes other assets and value-added services described below. The Logistics and Marketing segment includes Grand Prix, as well as our equity interest in GCX, which are both currently under construction. The associated assets, including these pipeline projects, are generally connected to and supplied in part by our Gathering and Processing segment and, except for the pipeline projects and smaller terminals, are located predominantly in Mont Belvieu and Galena Park, Texas, and in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Our fractionation, pipeline transportation, storage and terminaling businesses include approximately 1,100 miles of company-owned pipelines to transport mixed NGLs and specification products.
The Logistics and Marketing segment also transports, distributes and markets NGLs via terminals and transportation assets across the U.S. We own or commercially manage terminal facilities in a number of states, including Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arizona, Nevada, California, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky and New Jersey. The geographic diversity of our assets provides direct access to many NGL customers as well as markets via trucks, barges, ships, rail cars and open-access regulated NGL pipelines owned by third parties.
Additional description of the Logistics and Marketing segment assets and business activities associated with Fractionation, NGL Storage and Terminaling, Petroleum Logistics, NGL Distribution and Marketing, Wholesale Domestic Marketing, Refinery Services, Commercial Transportation and Natural Gas Marketing follows below.
Our NGL fractionation business is under fee-based arrangements. These fees are subject to adjustment for changes in certain fractionation expenses, including energy costs. The operating results of our NGL fractionation business are dependent upon the volume of mixed NGLs fractionated, the level of fractionation fees charged and product gains/losses from fractionation.
We believe that sufficient volumes of mixed NGLs will be available for fractionation in commercially viable quantities for the foreseeable future due to historical increases in NGL production from shale plays and other shale-technology-driven resource plays in areas of the U.S. that include Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and the Rockies and certain other basins accessed by pipelines to Mont Belvieu, as well as from conventional production of NGLs in areas such as the Permian Basin, Mid-Continent, East Texas, South Louisiana and shelf and deep-water Gulf of Mexico. Hydrocarbon dew point specifications implemented by individual natural gas pipelines and the Policy Statement on Provisions Governing Natural Gas Quality and Interchangeability in Interstate Natural Gas Pipeline Company Tarif s enacted in 2006 by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) should result in volumes of mixed NGLs being available for fractionation because natural gas requires processing or conditioning to meet pipeline quality specifications. These requirements establish a base volume of mixed NGLs during periods when it might be otherwise uneconomical to process certain sources of natural gas. Furthermore, significant volumes of mixed NGLs are contractually committed to our NGL fractionation facilities.
Although competition for NGL fractionation services is primarily based on the fractionation fee, the ability of an NGL fractionator to obtain mixed NGLs and distribute NGL products is also an important competitive factor. This ability is a function of the existence of storage infrastructure and supply and market connectivity necessary to conduct such operations. We believe that the location, scope and capability of our logistics assets, including our transportation and distribution systems, give us access to both substantial sources of mixed NGLs and a large number of end-use markets.
Our fractionation assets include ownership interests in three stand-alone fractionation facilities that are located on the Gulf Coast, two of which we operate, one at Mont Belvieu, Texas and the other at Lake Charles, Louisiana. We have an equity investment in the third fractionation facility, Gulf Coast Fractionators LP (“GCF”), also located at Mont Belvieu. In addition to the three stand-alone facilities in the Logistics Assets segment, we own fractionation assets at Chico, Monument and Gillis in our Gathering and Processing segment.
The five existing fractionation trains at the Mont Belvieu facility with a gross capacity of 493.0 MBbl/d are part of our 88%-owned Cedar Bayou Fractionators. Three additional fractionation trains, which are currently under construction at the Mont Belvieu facility, are not part of CBF. The additional fractionation trains will be fully integrated with our existing Gulf Coast NGL storage, terminaling and delivery infrastructure, which includes an extensive network of connections to key petrochemical and industrial customers as well as our LPG export terminal at Galena Park on the Houston Ship Channel. The additional fractionation trains are: (1) the 100 MBbl/d Train 6, which is expected to begin operations in the second quarter 2019, (2) the 110 MBbl/d Train 7, which is expected to begin operations in the first quarter 2020 and (3) the 110 MBbl/d Train 8, which is expected to begin operations in the second quarter 2020.
We also have a natural gasoline hydrotreater at Mont Belvieu, Texas that removes sulfur from natural gasoline, allowing customers to meet stringent environmental standards. The facility has a capacity of 35 MBbl/d and is supported by long-term fee-based contracts that have certain guaranteed volume commitments or provisions for deficiency payments.
The following table details the Logistics and Marketing segment's fractionation and treating facilities as of December 31, 2018
The following table details the Logistics and Marketing segment's NGL storage and terminaling facilities at December 31, 2018
Our Petroleum Logistics business owns and operates a storage and terminaling facility in Channelview, Texas. This facility serves the refined petroleum products, crude oil, LPG, and petrochemicals markets. The Channelview storage and terminaling facility’s throughput for the year ended December 31, 2018, was 171.6 MMgal and the gross storage capacity was 0.6 MMBbl. The Channelview Splitter, which is currently in the process of start-up and commissioning, will be part of our Petroleum Logistics business once in service.
We market our own NGL production and also purchase component NGL products from other NGL producers and marketers for resale. Additionally, we also purchase product for resale in our Logistics and Marketing segment, including exports. During the year ended December 31, 2018, our distribution and marketing services business sold an average of 537.9 MBbl/d of NGLs.
We generally purchase mixed NGLs at a monthly pricing index less applicable fractionation, transportation and marketing fees and resell these component products to petrochemical manufacturers, refineries and other marketing and retail companies. This is primarily a physical settlement business in which we earn margins from purchasing and selling NGL products from customers under contract. We also earn margins by purchasing and reselling NGL products in the spot and forward physical markets. To effectively serve our distribution and marketing customers, we contract for and use many of the assets included in our Logistics and Marketing segment.
Our wholesale domestic propane marketing operations primarily sell propane and related logistics services to major multi-state retailers, independent retailers and other end-users. Our propane supply primarily originates from both our refinery/gas supply contracts and our other owned or managed logistics and marketing assets. We sell propane at a fixed posted price or at a market index basis at the time of delivery and in some circumstances, we earn margin on a netback basis.
The wholesale domestic propane marketing business is significantly impacted by seasonal and weather-driven demand, particularly in the winter, which can impact the price and volume of propane sold in the markets we serve.
The following table details the Wholesale Marketing Terminal facilities as of December 31, 2018
In our refinery services business, we typically provide NGL balancing services via contractual arrangements with refiners to purchase and/or market propane and to supply butanes. We use our commercial transportation assets (discussed below) and contract for and use the storage, transportation and distribution assets included in our Logistics and Marketing segment to assist refinery customers in managing their NGL product demand and production schedules. This includes both feedstocks consumed in refinery processes and the excess NGLs produced by other refining processes. Under typical netback purchase contracts, we generally retain a portion of the resale price of NGL sales or receive a fixed minimum fee per gallon on products sold. Under netback sales contracts, fees are earned for locating and supplying NGL feedstocks to the refineries based on a percentage of the cost to obtain such supply or a minimum fee per gallon.
Key factors impacting the results of our refinery services business include production volumes, prices of propane and butanes, as well as our ability to perform receipt, delivery and transportation services in order to meet refinery demand.
Our NGL transportation and distribution infrastructure includes a wide range of assets supporting both third-party customers and the delivery requirements of our marketing and asset management business. We provide fee-based transportation services to refineries and petrochemical companies throughout the Gulf Coast area. Our assets are also deployed to serve our wholesale domestic distribution terminals, fractionation facilities, underground storage facilities and pipeline injection terminals. These distribution assets provide a variety of ways to transport products to and from our customers.
Our transportation assets, as of December 31, 2018, include approximately 585 railcars that we lease and manage, approximately 136 leased and managed transport tractors and 2 company-owned pressurized NGL barges.