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Rangeland developing Texas terminal for Mexico-bound liquids; propane weakens on higher production

on March 23 begandeveloping its planned integrated hydrocarbon logistics system called the SouthTexas Energy Products System, or STEPS.

Inits initial phase, STEPS would receive and store refined products, liquefiedpetroleum gas and other hydrocarbons at a new terminal hub in Corpus Christi,Texas, to be transported to inland terminals in Mexico, according to therelease. The products will be delivered by truck or rail. Rangeland has enteredinto an agreement to buy about 190 acres of land in Corpus Christi on which theterminal would be constructed.

Later,Rangeland plans to add marine facilities and other infrastructure in CorpusChristi, to accommodate more commodities such as crude, condensate and fueloil. Pipeline and barge transport services would also be added.

Thepropane market lost around a penny in the holiday-shortened week ended March24, with pressure applied by growing levels of propane production and by aslide in the price of crude oil.

LoneStar pipeline grade propane at Mont Belvieu fell 1.25 cents to trade at 44.85cents per gallon in the four days ended March 24, while non-LST propane alsodropped 1.25 cents to trade at 44.80 cents per gallon. Prices at the hub inConway, Kan., declined 0.85 cents and traded at 40.40 cents per gallon.

Thefrac spread increased 1.01 cents to 22.36 cents per gallon March 23 andcompared to 21.35 cents per gallon March 17. Prices of natural gas fell 7.3%between the two dates while the price of the average NGL barrel lost 0.7%.

on March 23announced the startup of its second offgasliquids extraction plant near Fort McMurray, Alberta, boosting thecompany's Canadian NGL productioncapacity by 60%, or 15,000 barrels per day, for a total of about 40,000 bbl/d.

Togetherwith Williams' first offgas plant, the facilities recover ethane, propane,propylene and other liquids from the offgas streams of oil sands upgraders,which are then carried to Williams' Redwater Olefinic Fractionator by therecently extended Boreal pipeline.

Williamsis the only company extracting and fractionating NGL/olefin mixes from oilsands upgrader offgas, according to the release. The company captures andprocesses the rich NGL/olefins mixture usually burned as fuel by the producers,who instead burn methane Williams provides in exchange for the mixture.

Ifthere is no sustained rally in commodity prices, another cost-cuttingalternative is turning up on the radar of midstream companies in 2016: job cuts.

Oiland gas midstream players with significant counterparty exposure to troubledproducers have already been struggling with CapEx budgets and maintainingdistributions in a downturn that is much worse for the energy industry than in2008-09, analysts said.

Someindustry observers said CapEx reductions and distribution adjustments may justnot be enough to help certain midstream companies and partnerships skirt thehurdles of skittish capital markets, high yields, and the of revenue losses from gatheringand processing contract problems with struggling E&P operators.