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    Whistler pipe expansion gets go ahead


The expansion could placate criticisms that Permian Basin infrastructure has fallen behind the curve.

by: Callum Cyrus

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Complimentary, Natural Gas & LNG News, Americas, Infrastructure, Pipelines, News By Country, United States

Whistler pipe expansion gets go ahead

The 450-mile Whistler pipeline that connects Permian gas to domestic markets in south Texas and exports overseas is to be expanded, one of its partners announced on May 2.

Whistler's nameplate transport capacity will rise from around 2bn ft3/day at present to around 2.5bn ft3/d. The upgraded capacity is expected to be available from September 2023, and will initially be sold on terms equivalent to initial shipping contracts.

Whistler is run by New York-listed midstream energy company MPLX and WhiteWater, a joint venture of West Texas Gas and alternative investments firm Stonepeak.

Permian gas yield increases have stagnated, despite tighter markets sending prices to the highest they have been in over a decade. Reuters says operators have struggled to overcome faltering pipeline infrastructure.

Oil and gas output from Permian shale assets suffered as demand fell amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but was expected to rebound last year. A group of energy companies called the Permian Strategic Partnership has pledged $844mn investment in roads, workforce development and other community assets to cultivate regional ecosystems impacted by the pandemic, according to Bloomberg.

Kinder, part of the operating consortium which operates the Permian Highway and Gulf Coast Express pipelines, has said it will expand its two routes by as much as 1.2bn ft3/d, with the renovations to be finished as soon as the fourth quarter of 2023, S&P Global reported April 20.

The Permian Highway would be expanded by almost 650mn ft3/d under the proposals. An open season tender for the expansion was launched on April 25, starting with binding commitments, Kinder Morgan said on April 25. The consortium  already has a binding contract with an unnamed foundation shipper to fill 50% of the expansion capacity.