A large pipeline proposed for transporting natural gas from eastern Ohio’s Utica shale through Detroit and into southern Ontario would run under several communities in the Akron-Canton area.
The 250-mile pipeline would cross Stark County and into the cities of Green and New Franklin in southern Summit County, then into Medina County. It would pass under Wadsworth and Guilford, Montville, Lafayette, York and Litchfield townships.
The pipeline’s eastern terminus would be in Ohio’s Utica shale area, although an exact location has not been disclosed.
Three companies — Detroit-based DTE Energy, Houston-based Spectra Energy Corp. and Calgary-based Enbridge Inc. — are advancing the project, called the Nexus Gas Transmission system. It carries a price tag of $1.2 billion to $1.5 billion.
The pipeline could be operating as early as November 2016, subject to market demand and regulatory approvals.
Details on the project are sketchy, but company officials have started to meet informally with local elected officials to outline plans and possible routes for the pipeline.
"It’s really early in the process," spokeswoman Andrea Grover of Spectra Energy said.
The pipeline largely would follow existing utility corridors and 50-foot-wide easements the development’s partnership have acquired. It would require the construction of compressor stations and other facilities along the route.
Using existing corridors for the right-of-way would minimize environmental and local impacts, promoters said.
Environmentalists, nonetheless, have expressed unhappiness with the proposal.
Stephanie Penn Spear, CEO of EcoWatch.com, a Cleveland-
based group, said she has "grave concerns" about the Nexus pipeline. It would accelerate the use of hydraulic fracturing (fracking), the volume of toxic wastewater and the volume of liquid wastes that must go into injection wells, she said.
Local communities need to get educated and get engaged to fight such pipelines, she said. "People need to understand what’s at risk."
The plan was first outlined last fall. The three companies conducted an "open season," which allows stakeholders to gauge market demand for the pipeline.
The project needs the approval of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission because it would be an interstate pipeline. That application has not been filed.
The project also would require wetlands approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources would be the primary agency responsible for the state’s review.
The new pipeline might be 36 inches in diameter or larger. It would be capable of transporting at least 1 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day — enough to heat about 13,500 houses.
The pipeline would connect with other pipelines in northern Ohio, southern Michigan and Ontario. That includes a connection to the 42-inch Vector Pipeline that runs from Joliet, Ill., into Michigan and Ontario and has available capacity.
That pipeline is a joint project Enbridge and DTE Energy operate.
The new pipeline also could supply large users of natural gas along its route.
Pipeline to expand market
The pipeline is needed, in part, because it will provide a market for Utica and Marcellus shale gas and would help offset a decline in traditional western Canada natural gas to the Detroit-Ontario area, promoters have said. It would run to the Union Gas’ Dawn Hub in southern Ontario.
It also could replace coal as the major fuel at electric power plants in the region.
Any facility expansions for the Canadian portion of the connected Vector Pipeline as well as increased import limits would require regulatory authorizations from Canada’s National Energy Board.
Additional permits also might be required from other Canadian agencies.
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.