Pipeline operator Enterprise says bullish on Permian oil output

HOUSTON, Feb 1 (Reuters) – U.S. energy pipeline operator Enterprise Products Partners (EPD.N) was bullish on oil production from the top U.S. shale basin, the firm said on Wednesday, predicting that international demand for U.S. oil and gas will rise.

The comments come as top oil producers have warned of easing crude oil production from the Permian basin, spread across Texas and New Mexico, and as Enterprise’s oil pipeline volumes fell last quarter. Rising costs, dwindling reserves and pressures to hold down spending have slowed Permian output gains.

“We think a lot of crude oil has to come from this country to satisfy demand,” said Chief Commercial Officer Brent Secrest.

Enterprise, which is looking to build a crude oil export terminal, said the market still needs the project as pipelines to top oil export port Corpus Christi are nearly full.

The pipeline operator posted a better-than-expected profit earlier in the day as its pipelines transported more natural gas. Export demand for natural gas has risen since the Ukraine crisis, providing ample opportunity for pipeline operators to move volumes to the coast.

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Natural gas transportation volumes rose 20.5% to a record 17.6 trillion British thermal units per day (TBtupd), boosting operating margin in the segment by about 62%, Enterprise said.

However, its crude oil pipeline volumes dipped 2% to about 2.28 million barrels per day (bpd). Crude marine terminal volumes increased 16% to 756 million bpd.

The company also said it was targeting earnings above $9.3 billion for the full year.

Reporting by Arathy Somasekhar in Houston; Editing by Josie Kao

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