Latest News, WV Press Videos

Pipeline-related spending to affect W.Va. counties

PARKERSBURG, W.Va. — A proposed $2.1 billion pipeline to transport natural gas through West Virginia is expected to pump hundreds of millions of dollars into three Mid-Ohio Valley counties.

Columbia Pipeline Group wants to build and operate approximately 165 miles of pipeline of varying diameters from Marshall County to Cabell County. The Mountaineer XPress project is expected to provide an additional 2.7 billion cubic feet per day for the Columbia Gas Transmission system, according to the company’s project web page,

The project will require modifications to existing compressor stations and infrastructure as well as the construction of three new compressor stations, one each in Jackson, Doddridge and Calhoun counties.

The individual compressor stations represent an investment of approximately $80 million to $100 million each, said Scott Castleman, manager of external communications for Columbia Pipeline.

The locations of the compressor stations have not been finalized, but maps online suggest they’ll be placed in southeastern Jackson County, central Doddridge County and northern Calhoun County, near the Ritchie County line.

Castleman said the company is in the pre-filing phase of its process with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

“We have started initial outreach with the counties,” he said.

Calhoun County Commissioner Scottie Westfall said the project would have a major impact on the county’s tax revenue, but there are potential negatives to consider as well.

“The commission is trying to balance the potential benefit of encouraging the compressor to be built with the potential long-term costs of having the compressor built here,” he said.

The size of the investment would cause Calhoun to move up in classification from its current Class 9 status, Westfall said.

“By law, the salaries of all the elected officials will go up,” he said.

Westfall added that there is no guarantee the compressor will be built in the county.

“The proposed location is just barely in Calhoun County, and depending on what Columbia decides to do, it could also be in Ritchie County,” he said.

Ritchie County Commissioner Stephen Worden said the commission there has not been approached by Columbia.

“If they do, we’re open to listen to anybody,” he said.

Castleman said the plan currently is for the station to be in Calhoun County, although an access road could come from the Ritchie side.

While the company will likely be purchasing land for the compressor stations, it plans to lease rights of way for the pipeline itself.

Open houses have been held in communities all along the route, which also covers portions of Wetzel, Tyler, Ritchie and Roane counties. Meetings were held at Doddridge County Park and Smithville Elementary School in Ritchie County last week and at the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce Monday. The final one is slated for today in Hurricane.

Castleman said people with questions or comments can reach out to Brittany Carns, manager for community relations and stakeholder outreach, at 304-357-2771 or [email protected]. Questions and comments can be submitted toll-free via 888-499-3450.

Construction on the project is not expected to begin until the fall of 2017.

An economic impact study indicates nearly 9,000 jobs will be created during the length of the process. A number of those will be related to construction; Castleman said an estimate of ongoing jobs is not yet available.

“There’s always a handful of full-time jobs that are created at compressor stations,” he said.

To read more from the Parkersburg News and Sentinel, subscribe here.

Comments are closed.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

And get our latest content in your inbox

Invalid email address