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Pipeline firm to spend $2.7 billion on projects involving West Virginia

WHEELING, W.Va. — Even more natural gas pipelining and processing infrastructure is on the way to the Upper Ohio Valley, as Columbia Pipeline Group will spend $2.7 billion for the Mountaineer XPress and Gulf XPress projects.

Meanwhile, Blue Racer Midstream continues growing, as the firm can now process a total of 800 million cubic feet of gas per day between its Natrium plant in Marshall County and the Berne complex in Monroe County.

“Columbia has been a part of many of these communities for decades, and in some states like West Virginia for over a century,” said Glen Kettering, Columbia Pipeline Group president. “Mountaineer XPress and Gulf XPress will enhance the energy infrastructure that serves these regions while creating hundreds of construction jobs and bring new revenue for local communities.”

 

As Columbia continues working on the $1.75 billion Leach XPress project, which would send gas from Marshall County via a southwestern route across Ohio to a compressor station in Ceredo, W.Va., the firm is now organizing the additional pipelines.

Officials expect the Mountaineer pipeline to transport 2.7 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day from Marcellus and Utica shale gathering areas in West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania southward to a Columbia station in Leach, Ky. The Gulf XPress will then transport gas farther south, all the way to Louisiana. The firm anticipates the pipelines to be up and running before the end of 2018.

“These projects will enhance Columbia Pipeline Group’s already substantial footprint to meet the needs of the market in this important region-transporting growing supplies of clean-burning natural gas to high-value markets,” Kettering said.

Columbia officials said the firm is reaching out to landowners and communities that will see the pipelines. They emphasize the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will oversee the review projects.

Meanwhile, Blue Racer – a partnership of Dominion Resources and Caiman Energy – through its vast and continuously expanding network of pipelines, processing stations and compressors, is moving natural gas across Ohio and West Virginia.

“Despite the (price) downturn, in just the past year, we have doubled our processing capacity and nearly tripled fractionation capacity in response to our customers’ needs. We’re excited about the continued growth of the region and Blue Racer’s ongoing contribution,” Blue Racer CEO Stephen Arata said of his firm’s work.

Both the Berne and Natrium complexes feature cryogenic processing, which strips the dry methane gas away from the NGL.

The liquids removed from the gas stream at Berne are shipped eastward to Natrium for fractionation, which separates the specific forms of NGL into usable products.

“The beauty of Blue Racer’s Super System is in the strategic placement of assets, which provides optionality and coverage. We have the ability to pick up gas virtually anywhere in the Utica, get it to one of our facilities for processing and deliver residue gas and purity products to multiple markets,” Arata said. “We continue to make significant expansions to our network by positioning assets where our producers need them to achieve connectivity to major residue markets, optionality for liquids and the best possible price realizations.”

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