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Corpus Christi pipeline construction begins

EPIC’s senior vice president of Engineering and Operations, Justin Gordon, stands in front of pipes slated to be part of the EPIC NGL Pipeline project. Phase One in construction is underway just north of Orla. Courtesy Photo

Construction on the EPIC NGL Pipeline project designed to link oil and gas form the Permian Basin to the Port of Corpus Christi began in late November. The scope of the 650-mile pipeline has increased since it was first announced in September.

Initially, EPIC, which stands for Eagle Ford, Permian, Ingleside and Corpus, was to move 220,000 barrels of natural gas liquids a day from the West Texas shale play. In its new iteration, the pipeline will move 375,000 barrels a day, running parallel to part of a 730-mile pipeline designed to move 440,000 barrels a day of crude oil and condensate.

The longer pipeline, known as EPIC Crude Oil Pipeline, is expected to go into service in early 2018. EPIC should begin moving product in early 2019.

Delivery points along the way to Corpus Christi include Orla and Benedum. An affiliate of EPIC plans to build a fractionation complex at the end of the line. Fractionation is the process of separating the gas from impurities such as water, carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide. A fractionation complex prepares the raw materials piped in from the oil field into a product that can be used by consumers.

“Our pipeline will be an NGL ‘Superhighway’ providing customers’ volumes from the Permian Basin to Corpus Christi,” said EPIC’s senior vice president of Engineering and Operations Justin Gordon in a statement. “It will better serve the growing needs of the petrochemical and refining sectors along the U.S. Gulf Coast.”

Companies operating the pipeline include EPIC Y Grade Pipeline and EPIC Midstream Holdings. Both are based in San Antonio. EPIC NGL is one of six pipelines in the works linking Corpus Christi refineries and the port to oil and gas west of the Coastal Bend.

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