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Environment


Joint venture is putting $200 million more into eastern Ohio gas plant
Access Midsteam says there's an increasing demand for northern Ohio shale "fractionation"
by WKSU's M.L. SCHULTZE


Web Editor
M.L. Schultze
 
Distilling towers like these separate and store natural and liquid gases.
Courtesy of Access Midstream
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In The Region:

A joint venture is about to nearly double the capacity of a massive processing plant and pipeline complex in eastern Ohio -- just about a year after what’s called a fractionator first opened there. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze has more on the $200 million deal announced today.

LISTEN: Utica expansion

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The 300-foot towers that loom over the hills of Harrison County distill the gas coming out of the Utica shale, peeling off natural gas for the local market, and propane, butane and other liquid gases for the national market. There are six towers now. The announcement says there will be three more. 

Scott Hallam’s job is to watch over those towers and the rest of the complex for Access Midstream. He says production will go from 650 million to 1.1 billion cubic feet a day. The venture also is adding 50 miles of gathering lines. Despite cuts in production estimates by Antero Energy, and the cancellation of construction of a pipeline by another company, Hallam says this investment is justified. 

“We feel like this is confirmation of the production that’s currently occurring and the opportunity that exists particularly in the northern portion of the Utica shale development. This expansion represents that the Utica is a real opportunity, a world-class asset.”

He says the growth will come from existing customers, including Chesapeake Energy, and a new customer, American Energy Partners. That’s run by Aubrey McClendon – who was running Chesapeake when it first invested heavily in Ohio.

The joint venture is owned by Access Midstream, M3 Midstream LLC and EV Energy Partners LP.

Hallam says the expansion could eventually lead the project to tap into a bigger network.

LISTEN: Tapping into a bigger network
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(0:14)

“Just being in the industry we do see there’s a potential as this facility will make interconnect with other pipelines that can take the product to various areas of the country such as Philadelphia or down to Houston.”

Click here for well production numbers compiled by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. 


Related WKSU Stories

Utica fractionator helps ease propane shortage
Thursday, January 30, 2014

More than a billion-dollar investment starts up in Ohio's Appalachia
Monday, July 29, 2013

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