Whistler to expand natural gas transmission capacity in Permian Midland

Whistler Pipeline extends its footprint into the Midland Subbasin of the Permian Basin with a 36 inch diameter natural gas lateral extending northwest into Martin County, TX.

The Martin County Lateral, announced Thursday, Jan. 27, would extend the existing 36-inch-diameter Midland Lateral by approximately 35 miles and connect to multiple processing sites in the county. The extension should be in service by the end of this year.

Whistler, owned by a consortium including MPLX LP, WhiteWater Midstream LLC and a joint venture between Stonepeak Partners and West Texas Gas Inc., began full commercial operations in July. The pipeline stretches 450 miles from the Waha Hub in West Texas to Agua Dulce in the southern part of the state. From there, a 30-inch-diameter pipeline travels 170 miles south to a termination point in Wharton County, southwest of Houston.

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The Midland expansion comes as natural gas production from the Permian hit record highs last month. In the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) drilling productivity report released earlier this month, production was expected to climb to around 20,100,000 cfd in February, up from 122,1000 cfd. compared to January.

The new lateral is expected to come online during the peak winter season, improving connectivity to liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facilities on the Gulf Coast. US LNG facilities operated near capacity for much of the winter amid heavy purchases from Asia and Europe. New production units are expected to be largely completed in the coming months, including Cheniere Energy Inc.’s sixth train at the Sabine Pass LNG export terminal.

The LNG developer is also considering a final investment decision this year on the expansion of the Corpus Christi facility. The project would add seven medium-sized liquefaction trains with a maximum production capacity of 11.45 million metric tons/year (mmty). The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has also approved construction of a 21-mile, 42-inch-diameter pipeline for the facility and an LNG storage tank. Three liquefaction trains with a capacity of 15 mmty are currently operating at the terminal.

Cheniere is, however, seeking more time to set up the expansion, citing the impacts of Covid-19. He said he needed until mid-2027 to bring the project online.

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