Utica Shale News: A Columbia Gas sister company released plans to build a 38-mile pipeline that will transport natural gas liquids from Ohio’s Utica shale.
Pennant Midstream said the pipeline will connect the Hickory Bend processing plant in Mahoning County to the Utica East Ohio Kensington plant in Columbiana County. It will cost about $60 million and have the capacity to deliver 90,000 barrels per day.
This is one of several projects in northeastern Ohio that will provide ways to get natural gas liquids such as ethane and propane to market. The liquids have a wide array of uses; among them, ethane is a key ingredient in chemical manufacturing, and propane is a fuel for home heating.
The liquids often need a dedicated pipeline, the construction of which is an important part of developing the Utica, said Ben Ebenhack, associate professor of petroleum engineering at Marietta College.
“You don’t want to move vast quantities of liquids in a gas pipeline,” he said. “They will tend to accumulate in the pipeline and block the flow of the gas.”
The Utica is rich in liquids, which is helping to drive much of the investment there.
While the market price of natural gas has been low for several years, the liquids sell for a much higher price.
Pennant Midstream is operated and co-owned by a subsidiary of NiSource, which is the Indiana-based parent company of Columbia Gas of Ohio.
“The construction of new infrastructure is critical to unlocking the potential of the Utica shale play in Ohio,” Jimmy Staton, Columbia Pipeline Group and NiSource Midstream Services CEO, said in a statement.
“This partnership will not only provide a key link in that infrastructure, it will provide economic-related benefits for companies and residents of Ohio and the Appalachian basin.”
Harvest Pipeline Co., a subsidiary of Houston-based Hilcorp Energy Co., also co-owns Pipeline Midstream. Steve Jacobs, president of Harvest Pipeline, said the project is “an important milestone in advancing the development of the Utica shale.”
Construction has already begun on the project, with plans to finish by July.