A Oklahoma-based partnership, Williams Partners LP, is buying a natural gas pipeline and other facilities in the Marcellus shale for $2.5 billion in cash and stocks, Bloomberg News reported on Tuesday.
The deal also provides access for Williams Partners to the liquid-rich Utica shale in eastern Ohio.
The acquisition came from closely held Dallas-based Caiman Energy LLC and included pipelines, two natural gas-processing plants and a gas-liquids fractionator or processing plant.
"We intend to be the No. 1 or No. 2 player in the very large Marcellus basin and this moves as another step in that direction," said Williams CEO Alan Armstrong in a statement.
Caiman has agreements with 10 producers to gather and process gas and petroleum liquids from wells drilled on 236,000 acres in Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania.
Williams Partners may be handling as much as 5 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day from the Marcellus shale by 2015, Armstrong said.
Most of that partnership is controlled by Williams Cos., based in Tulsa. The partnership is the third-largest U.S. pipeline partnership.
Williams Partners and Caiman intend to form a joint venture to build more pipelines and processing plants in the Utica shale.
The announcement is further proof that companies are confident enough in the potential of Ohio's Utica shale to invest heavily in the needed infrastructure to transport and process the gas-oil.
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.
The Ohio Environmental Council, a statewide eco-group based in Columbus.
Earthjustice, a national eco-group.
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.
Pipeline, blog from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Marcellus shale drilling.
Allegheny Front, environmental public radio for Western Pennsylvania.