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Ohio Utica Shale

More delays at Dominion's new NGL processing plant at Natrium

By Bob Downing Published: March 26, 2013

From the Marcellus Drilling News:

A $500 million natural gas liquids processing plant in Natrium (Marshall County), WV was supposed to go online by the end of 2012 and didn’t (see Dominion $500M NGL Processing Plant in WV to Open in December). It was then supposed to be online “in a few weeks,” as of the middle of February (see Bomb Threat at Natrium, WV NGL Plant Doesn’t Slow Construction). It’s now the end of March and the facility is still not online. Blue Racer Midstream, the joint venture owner of the plant, is now saying it will go online “later this spring.”

An update on progress at the facility:

 

Though the site buzzes daily with construction activity, the $500 million Dominion Resources natural gas processing plant is already three months behind schedule for opening.

The plant is now part of a $1.5 billion processing and transportation venture between Dominion and Caiman Energy known as Blue Racer Midstream. This network includes facilities across northern West Virginia and eastern Ohio that will move gas and liquids out of the Marcellus and Utica shale formations.

In the natural gas and oil industry, the term “midstream” broadly refers to pipelines that gather and transport gas and oil, processing plants, fractionators and compressor stations. With continued development, the system could eventually transport “at least 2 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day,” according to Blue Racer.

“I don’t have a firm start up date yet – it will be later this spring,” said Blue Racer spokeswoman Casey Nikoloric regarding the Natrium plant.

Once the wet Marcellus and Utica shale gas travels to the Dominion plant via the company’s pipeline network, the ethane, butane, propane and other natural gas liquids will be separated from the “dry” methane gas so that all the products can be individually marketed.

Upon separation from the gas stream, the propane and butane will be kept in tanks on the Dominion site to be marketed. However, this cannot be done with ethane because of the product’s volatility, so Dominion is looking to ship the ethane for cracking along the Gulf Coast.

Officials with both Dominion and Caiman believe the plant’s location along the Ohio River in Marshall County will allow it to be a centerpiece in the burgeoning Utica and Marcellus shale industries in Ohio and West Virginia.

“The Utica Shale has enormous potential to provide jobs and revenues for the local Ohio economy,” said Thomas F. Farrell II, Dominion’s chairman, president and chief executive officer. “Because the portion of the Utica Shale targeted today produces a rich gas stream, gathering and processing capacity must be developed so that the natural gas and valuable natural gas liquids can be separated and sold.”*

*Wheeling (WV) The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register (Mar 25, 2013) – $500M Natrium Plant Work Continues

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