Howard Energy Investing $100 Million in Eagle Ford Processing & Rail

Howard Energy Reveille Plant Webb County TX
Howard Energy Reveille Plant Webb County TX

Howard Energy Partners is set to invest $100 million total in a processing plant in Webb County and a rail facility Live Oak County.

You can read more on the railroad in a previous article - Live Oak Railroad Near Three Rivers Coming. The facility will have 28,000 ft of track and is expected to open in the first half of 2013.

In Webb County, a cryogenic processing plant that has the capacity of 200 mmcfd. The plant is being built to serve growing demand from wells targeting the Eagle Ford, Escondido, and Olmos formation.

Live Oak Railroad Near Three Rivers Coming

Live Oak Railroad Location Map
Live Oak Railroad Location Map

The Live Oak Railroad will be breaking ground in November with plans to open in the first half of 2013. The new rail facility will include 28,000 ft of track located just south of Three Rivers. The facility has a great location almost halfway between San Antonio and Corpus Christi. If you have noticed, there has been a dramatic rise in rail traffic in South Texas related to the Eagle Ford boom.

Three other major railroad sites have grown significantly in recent times:

The Live Oak Railroad is being built by a partnership between Howard Energy Partners and local real estate developers. The primary purpose of the facility is to move liquid hydrocarbons - condensate, NGLs, and oil.

Why Move Oil by Rail?

Live Oak Railroad Eagle Ford Map
Live Oak Railroad Eagle Ford Map

It might surprise you that crude will move by rail. Approximately 1.8 million barrels per day of pipelines have been built or are under construction. That should be adequate capacity for quite some time, but that is only part of the story. WTI oil prices have been significantly discounted to Louisiana Light Sweet (LLS) in recent history (Read more at Eagle Ford Oil Prices Trade at a Premium to WTI).

There are several projects underway to move crude from WTI's trading point, Cushing, OK, to the Gulf Coast near Houston. Those projects will relieve congestion in Oklahoma, but will make supply more abundant in the Texas refinery complex.

All that to say, there is adequate pipeline capacity to get into the Gulf Coast Refinery Complex, BUT there is a lot of other oil on its way there too. If Eagle Ford operators can get their production across the state line into Louisiana, it might mean several more dollars per barrel. That's potentially millions of dollars of savings per day across the Eagle Ford. The Live Oak Railroad and others will be the primary trading points for oil if prices prove more lucrative in other areas of the country.

GE - Howard Energy Deal Sets Up Acquisition of Meritage Midstream Services

GE Financial Services has acquired a 30.6% stake in South Texas midstream operator Howard Energy Partners. The amount paid was not disclosed, but we do know what the company is doing with the proceeds. Howard Energy will use the money to partially fund the acquisition of Meritage Midstream Services.  Howard Energy owns more than 280 miles of natural gas pipelines in South Texas.  Meritage Midstream owns 185 miles of pipe, including the Eagle Ford's Escondido Gathering System and the Cuervo Creek Gathering System that transports wet-gas.

When the transaction closes, the new Howard Energy Partners will own more than 450 miles of natural gas gathering pipelines in Dimmit, Frio, Maverick, Webb, and Zavala counties. The system currently gathers 175 mmcfd, but that amount will increase as more wells come online in the coming year.

The company plans to improve facilities to handle production from the Austin Chalk, Eagle Ford Shale, Escondido, Olmos, and San Miguel formations.