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Sunoco Logistics Liquefied Petroleum Gas Export/Import Facility: New Project Meets Deadline Early Despite Unexpected Request from Another Customer

Posted July 1, 2015 in Case Studies

Entergy Texas Inc. kept LPG facility on schedule without reducing redundancy for neighboring refinery; $400 million facility at Sunoco Logistics Nederland Terminal now operational with initial capacity of six million barrels per month.

Mariner South Pipeline transports export grade propane and butane from Lone Star NGL LLC’s storage and fractionation complex in Mont Belvieu, Texas, to the Sunoco Logistics Partners L.P. terminal in Nederland, Texas. The terminal, located on the Sabine-Neches waterway, is a large marine terminal that provides storage and distribution services for refiners and other large transporters of petroleum products. Entergy Texas Inc. worked with Sunoco Logistics to provide electric service to the new Mariner South LPG export/import facility, where propane is converted to international specifications for transport. The $400 million Mariner South project became operational in the first quarter of 2015.

Business Challenge

To provide an initial demand of 30 megawatts (MW) to the new Mariner South LPG, Entergy constructed a new 230 kilovolt (kV) substation, which is expandable for future load additions. Sunoco’s date for initial service was early October 2014.

Temporary line outages were scheduled beginning in late September so that the substation’s connection to the Entergy electrical grid could be completed. The project required precise coordination between Entergy’s ground crews and specialized air crews to complete the work on the substation and transmission lines during the planned line outages. These aerial linemen, who conduct their work from a helicopter platform, had been scheduled to the minute and had been booked for weeks in advance.

But just as Entergy was ready to conduct this work, another customer, a major refinery, asked the company to delay the outage because of concerns about losing power. Entergy supplies refinery customers with redundant sources of power, and the refinery purchases both firm service and backup for its onsite generation, which was undergoing repairs.

Taking a portion of the transmission lines out of operation would leave the refinery with only one source of grid power, and the company was concerned about being fed from a single source while one of its generators was repaired. A problem could leave the refinery with limited power, which would be costly in terms of lost product and potential environmental impact.

Collaborating with Entergy

Entergy made meeting both companies’ needs a priority. In addition to delaying the transmission line work to accommodate the refinery, Entergy also offered the assistance of generator specialists to help diagnose the refinery’s problem.

The logistics and coordination required to pull this off successfully were complex; Entergy had only a limited window of opportunity with the contracted air crews. During the delay, Project Management & Construction redirected ground crews and the air crews to other projects where feasible. In the meantime, Entergy planners assessed risks and impacts associated with delayed/rescheduled line outages. When the delay was over, to ensure meeting Sunoco’s deadlines for service, Entergy added additional crews, extended crew hours and provided resources that shortened the transmission line outage time by two weeks.

The Entergy work groups included Project Management & Construction, Operations & Safety, Systems and Transmission Operating Centers, Transmission Grid, Customer Service, Industrial Accounts and Legal. These teams collaborated to find solutions that would accommodate Sunoco while delivering the level of reliability the refinery needed during its generator outage.

Business Solution

All ended well. Not only was the refinery company allowed the time it needed to repair its generator, but Sunoco’s substation also was energized ahead of schedule. This was a first, according to Sunoco officials.

The $14 million substation project generated five new jobs and 300 indirect jobs.

Entergy Texas President Sallie Rainer was proud of how well her team functioned together to solve a complicated problem in a manner that left two major Entergy clients pleased: “This project serves as solid proof that we can find creative solutions, manage risk and work toward common goals – attributes that will surely influence future growth decisions for both customers.”

Key Industries

Energy Services & Manufacturing