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Phillips 66 bolsters NGL value chain ‘from wellhead to market’

Growing global demand for natural gas liquids and chemicals is underpinning Phillips 66’s investments, including its integration of DCP Midstream, Executive Vice President of Midstream and Chemicals Tim Roberts said at the recently held World Petrochemical Conference in Houston.

“This is an opportunity for us to build a full value chain to compete from wellhead to market,” Roberts said. “Now we can pick up a barrel from a producer and take it to Asia, Europe or Baytown, Texas.”

Roberts spoke on a keynote panel that headlined a feedstocks and refining integration track. The integration of DCP Midstream, a major processor of natural gas and one of the largest U.S. producers and marketers of NGLs, bolsters Phillips 66’s already strong position in the latter. NGLs, which include ethane, propane, butane and pentanes, are in-demand hydrocarbons for petrochemical production, home heating and cooking and fuel-blending. On the chemicals side, Chevron Phillips Chemical, Phillips 66’s joint venture with Chevron, is pursuing world-class projects in the Gulf Coast region and Qatar.

On the topic of lower-carbon opportunities, Roberts said Phillips 66 continues to study how to best leverage its core assets and expertise to potentially capture and sequester carbon dioxide, as well as produce hydrogen.

“We’re in the molecule management business,” he said. “We’re the logical entity to handle and produce them. We see the refining structure and the midstream space supporting those efforts.”

Roberts noted that pipelines are the safest form of transportation for hydrogen and CO2, so there will be opportunities to convert underutilized infrastructure.

He is optimistic about NGL growth in the Permian Basin, where producers continue to optimize their acreage and where DCP Midstream has a strong presence.

While demand for liquid hydrocarbons will exist for a long time, companies such as Phillips 66 want to be part of a lower-carbon energy future.

“We’re looking for solutions,” said Roberts, who advocated for working constructively with government administrations and regulators on the path forward. “We believe we’re the right company and the right industry to bring those solutions.”