(Repeats story that originally appeared on Nov 18)
By Jarrett Renshaw
NEW YORK, Nov 18 (Reuters) - Sunoco Logistics Partners is seeking Pennsylvania state approval to build cryogenic tanks that can store up to 2.4 million barrels of natural gas liquids at a facility outside of Philadelphia that the company is trying to remake into a manufacturing and export hub.
The company plans to build storage tanks to hold 1.5 million barrels of propane, 600,000 barrels of butane and 300,000 barrels of ethane, according to a September filing with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, obtained by Reuters this month.
Company spokesman Jeff Shields declined to comment. On a conference call this month, the company declined to provide the breakdown of volume of different NGLs that will come to the facility.
Earlier this month, Sunoco officials discussed the construction of storage tanks at the 800-acre site of the former refinery when announcing that the company was moving forward with a $2.5 billion pipeline project. That project, dubbed Mariner East 2, will bring 275,000 barrels per day of natural gas liquids from Western Pennsylvania, Virginia and Ohio to its Philadelphia facility.
Analysts say Sunoco is trying to capitalize on a growing export market and position itself to store gas from nearby shale producers as a local alternative to the national NGL hub in Mount Belvieu, Texas.
“Sunoco is basically trying to capture the international market, particularly in northeast and northwest Europe,” said Vivek Mathur, a senior analyst at ESAI Energy. “If you’re a Marcellus producer and you have an option to move product to the Gulf Coast or through the Mariner East, it makes economic sense to choose Mariner East.”
Mathur said the facility will chill, store and process enough of the NGLs to meet regional demand and to capture an export market that the Energy Information Administration expects to grow dramatically over the next two decades.
Construction of the storage tanks is expected to start after permitting is complete.
The company also during the conference call that it is considering building a propane dehydrogenation plant for the manufacture of propylene, a key ingredient in plastic that company officials have said is in high demand in the northeast. (Reporting by Jarrett Renshaw; Editing by David Gregorio)