The “Open Season” for the “Marcellus Ethane Pipeline System” Closes on September 15th

by Duane Nichols on August 16, 2011

Long Distance Transmission Pipeline

A proposed pipeline project, tentatively scheduled for completion in late 2014, is being developed as the “Marcellus Ethane Pipeline System” jointly by El Paso Midstream Group and Spectra Energy Transmission. This project would involve  “110 miles of newly constructed liquid ethane pipeline from at or near Houston, Pa., and at or near Natrium, W.Va. (assuming completion of the Dominion fractionation facility) to the Cambridge, Ohio area.” 
Up to 90,000 barrels per day of ethane would thus be collected for an upgraded longer distance 1,100 mile existing pipeline to Louisiana and/or Texas. An “open season” is in place until September 15, 2011 in which ethane suppliers must commit at least 5,000 barrels per day for at least 10 years in order to participate on the MEPS pipeline.
Earlier this year, the WV Legislature enacted and  Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin appointed a Marcellus to Manufacturing Task Force to attract an ethane cracker to West Virginia. One of the task force members is Tomblin’s general counsel G. Kurt Dettinger. Tomblin “firmly believes that ethane produced in West Virginia should not be shipped out of state, but should instead be used as the foundation for job creation and economic expansion in West Virginia,” Dettinger said.
Dettinger said industry projections call for there to be about 250,000 gallons of ethane production per day from Pennsylvania and West Virginia by 2014.” The type and size of crackers that have been discussed for development in West Virginia require approximately 60,000 barrels of ethane per day. The Bayer Corporation is seeking to participate in locating a cracker plant at one of their sites, near New Martinsville in Marshall county or at Institute in Kanawha county.

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