HOUSTON, March 7 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. natural gas processing capacity and processing throughput rose by about 5 percent on a net basis in the contiguous United States from 2014 to 2017, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on Thursday.
As of the end of 2017, 510 natural gas processing plants were active in the contiguous United States, with a total processing capacity of 80.8 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d); on average, these plants processed about 53.3 Bcf/d, operating at about 66 percent of capacity, said EIA in its Thursday publication.
Natural gas processing plant utilization rates stayed constant at 66 percent from 2014 to 2017, but several states experienced significant changes, largely reflecting changes in natural gas production across regions, said the organization.
At the national level, utilization rates remained essentially flat between 2014 and 2017, although some states showed more significant changes, it added.
The contiguous United States consists of the 48 adjoining states of the United States, plus the District of Columbia, and excludes the non-contiguous states of Alaska and Hawaii and all off-shore insular areas.
Processing plants are midstream facilities that separate natural gas liquids (NGL) from natural gas. Plants operate at less than full capacity for many reasons: transportation constraints, varying production volumes and characteristics, and regional economics.