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Ohio Utica Shale

NiSource plans Columbia Gas Transmission pipeline improvements

By Bob Downing Published: February 19, 2013

NiSource Inc., the parent company of Columbia Gas, announced on Tuesday that it intends to upgrade its Columbia Gas Transmission pipeline network in Ohio and other states.

It also announced preliminary success in its initial natural gas wells in the Utica shale in eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania.

NiSource, based in Merrillville, Ind., will spend $1.8 billion through 2017 on pipeline improvements.

The pipeline system transports an average of 3 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas in 10 U.S. Northeastern, mid-Atlantic and Midwestern states.

The company will work on updating the infrastructure in states including Ohio, Kentucky, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia, it said.

The company got federal approval in late January to pass those costs on to its customers.

The Utica test wells in Ohio and Pennsylvania are "quite encouraging," company president and CEO Robert C. Skaggs Jr. told investors.

He refused to provide specific flow data but said the wells were producing "high gas, about 1,200 Btu."

The wells are also producing significant volumes of natural gas liquids such as ethane, butane and propane, he said.

NiSource will continue its well testing and expects to drill 10 to 20 wells in the area later this year, he said.

NiSource and its partner, Hilcorp, have about 100,000 acres in and around the Youngstown area.

It also intends to build a new natural gas gathering system and processing plant through Pennant Midstream LLC.

The two companies have put $300 million toward that project.

The plan calls for 50 miles of pipelines plus a processing plant capable of processing 200 million cubic feet of natural gas per day before it is shipped into major pipelines for transportation.

The plant is due to be completed by the end of 2013.

An expansion of the Pennant Midstream’s project is projected to cost an additional $300 million.

Skaggs said NiSource had "another year of strong performance" in 2012.

The company reported earning $416.1 million or $1.39 per share in 2012 on revenue of $5.06 billion.

That compares to revenue of $299.1 million or $1.03 per share in 2011 on revenue of $5.97 billion.

For the fourth quarter of 2012, the company reported met income of $134 million or 43 cents per share on revenue of $1.4 billion. That’s up from net income of $14.6 million or 4 cents per share on revenue of $1.48 billion a year ago.

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Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management State agency Web site.

ODNR Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management. State drilling permits. List is updated weekly.

ODNR Division of Geological Survey.

Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

Ohio State University Extension.

Ohio Farm Bureau.

Ohio Oil and Gas Association, a Granville-based group that represents 1,500 Ohio energy-related companies.

Ohio Oil & Gas Energy Education Program.

Energy In Depth, a trade group.

Marcellus and Utica Shale Resource Center by Ohio law firm Bricker & Eckler.

Utica Shale, a compilation of Utica shale activities.

Landman Report Card, a site that looks at companies involved in gas and oil leases.FracFocus, a compilation of chemicals used in fracking individual wells as reported voluntarily by some drillers.

Chesapeake Energy Corp,the Oklahoma-based firm is the No. 1 driller in Ohio.

Rig Count Interactive Map by Baker Hughes, an energy services company.

Shale Sheet Fracking, a Youngstown Vindicator blog.

National Geographic's The Great Shale Rush.

The Ohio Environmental Council, a statewide eco-group based in Columbus.

Buckeye Forest Council.

Earthjustice, a national eco-group.

Stop Fracking Ohio.

People's Oil and Gas Collaborative-Ohio, a grass-roots group in Northeast Ohio.

Concerned Citizens of Medina County, a grass-roots group.

No Frack Ohio, a Columbus-based grass-roots group.

Fracking: Gas Drilling's Environmental Threat by ProPublica, an online journalism site.

Penn State Marcellus Center.

Pipeline, blog from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Marcellus shale drilling.

Allegheny Front, environmental public radio for Western Pennsylvania.