U.S. Dept. of Energy Promotes Storage of Natural Gas Liquids (NGL) in Ohio Valley

by Duane Nichols on December 26, 2017

Ethane, propane and butane (NGL) by-product from Marcellus and Utica shale wells

Federal report promotes Monroe County OH storage caverns

From an Article by Casey Junkins, Martins Ferry Times-Leader, December 22, 2017

CLARINGTON –A new U.S. Department of Energy report identifies a plan to store 420 million barrels of ethane, propane and butane in underground salt caverns along the Ohio River as a key to developing the $36 billion Appalachian Storage Hub that experts say ultimately could create 100,000 jobs.

Mountaineer NGL Storage Managing Director David Hooker said his firm plans to spend at least $150 million to build the salt caverns along Ohio Route 7 in Monroe County, while the total investment for the project could reach $500 million. He hopes to begin storing ethane and other natural gas liquids along the river by the end of 2019 –- at a site that will be only about 10 miles south of the proposed $6 billion PTT Global Chemical ethane cracker.

“We’re pleased to see that the federal government has identified the need for NGL storage in the region and specifically sites Mountaineer NGL Storage as part of this Natural Gas Liquids Primer. We commend the DOE for providing this resource to help educate the public on the importance of keeping NGLs local to the region and believe our project is vital to help foster additional investments across the NGL supply chain,” Hooker said.

Hooker said he already has a permit from the Ohio Department of Transportation, but is still waiting for authorization from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. Hooker said he expects all environmental permits for the project to be obtained within the first six months of 2018, after which construction can begin.

Hooker, along with elected officials and other industry leaders, said the DOE report shows how vital and viable his project is.

“This Department of Energy study proves that what we are doing here in the local region is a national issue. Underground natural gas liquids storage — and the Mountaineer NGL project in particular — is critical to the future of shale development in our region,” Monroe County Commissioner Mick Schumacher said. “We need to utilize our natural resources locally and grow jobs in our local economies rather than exporting our natural resources with little benefit to our residents.”

Since discussion of a Marcellus and Utica shale ethane cracker commenced, industry leaders have maintained a major obstacle is the lack of underground storage capacity for the natural gas liquid. This is needed, they say, to ensure a constant source of ethane to the cracker plant in the event of supply disruptions.

“The Mountaineer NGL Storage Project is centrally located to an existing pipeline network that can both deliver ethane to storage and withdraw it and deliver it to markets that need it now and in the future. As additional consumers of ethane and propane locate or expand in West Virginia, Mountaineer NGL will be ready to serve their needs,” West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association Executive Director Anne Blankenship said.

Monroe County Commissioner Carl Davis said he believes the Mountaineer NGL project is “essential to the future of the proposed PTT Global project, as well as the Marcellus and Utica shale plays and future exploration and production of our natural resources.”

“This is very good news for Belmont County and the entire Upper Ohio Valley region,” Belmont County Commissioner Mark Thomas added of the study.

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