The rapid pace of Permian Basin production growth is well known by now, as far as crude oil output and associated natural gas are concerned. But less light has been focused on the gas liquids component, even as the midstream industry along the Gulf Coast—and particularly the Mont Belvieu, Texas, processing and storage hub—ramps up activity levels and investments to meet growing demand from the petrochemical sector and export markets.

Emphasizing the important role played by the Gulf Coast, a recent Citi research report said the U.S. has become a “massive hydrocarbons hub.” As measured by the sum of gross imports and gross exports including crude, products and NGL, the U.S. holds a 12% position in total global oil liquids trade, outpacing China at about 8%, Saudi Arabia at 6% and Russia at 5%, according to the report.