A pipeline for transporting natural gas from shale drilling sites in eastern Ohio to Detroit and southern Ontario would run under more than 50 miles of Stark, Summit and Medina counties, according to a map the Beacon Journal has obtained from one of the government entities whose officials met with Spectra Energy about the proposal.
Three companies building the Nexus Gas Transmission pipeline intend to widen existing electric rights-of-way, when possible, by 50 feet over the route’s 250 miles from Carroll County to Detroit and southern Ontario.
Local and company officials have released few details about the project, with Spectra Energy spokeswoman Andrea Grover saying it was simply too early in the process. But the map and interviews with parties involved in preliminary talks revealed this information about the pipeline:
• The eastern terminus would be near Carrollton, an area where natural gas from Ohio’s developing Utica shale formation appears to be plentiful.
• The pipeline — expected to be 36 inches or larger in diameter — would enter Stark County south of Alliance near the border between Washington and Paris townships. It would run west across southern Marlboro and Lake townships. Its length in Stark would total 19.8 miles.
• In Summit County, it would run west for 12 miles through central Green and New Franklin into Wayne County.
• When crossing under Nimisila Reservoir between Green and New Franklin in southern Summit County, the pipeline would be buried at a depth up to 80 feet.
• The route would run north of Doylestown in Chippewa Township and south of Wadsworth; then northwest across Medina County through Wadsworth, Guilford, Montville, Lafayette, York and Litchfield townships before entering Lorain County.
• A total of 22 miles of the new pipeline would be in Medina County.
• Price tag for the project is estimated at $1.2 billion to $1.5 billion.
• Gas transport could begin as early as November 2016, subject to market demand and numerous regulatory approvals.
• Three companies are behind the project: Detroit-based DTE Energy, Houston-based Spectra Energy Corp.; and Calgary-based Enbridge Inc. Officials from those companies met with government officials in several local meetings that consultant Louis G. Berroteran, of the Akron-based Berroteran Group, helped to arrange.
Official map released
The Beacon Journal made an open-records request of Summit, Stark and Medina counties plus the city of New Franklin to request documents provided at those meetings. That request turned up the first official map of the pipeline route showing Summit, Stark, Wayne and Medina counties, plus Columbiana and Lorain counties.
Stark County commissioners provided the map, which is dated March 27. Other entities said they were shown maps but were not given copies indicating the pipeline’s route.
Previously, the companies had released only a generic map of Ohio showing a large arrow across the northern half of the state where the pipeline would be routed.
The project would need approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission because it would be an interstate pipeline. That application has not been filed.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources would be the primary agency responsible for the state’s review.
Wetlands approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency also would be required.
Stefanie Penn Spear, CEO of EcoWatch.com, a Cleveland-based group, said she has “grave concerns” about the Nexus pipeline. She urged other environmental groups to fight the project.
The new pipeline would be capable of transporting at least 1 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day. That’s enough to heat about 13,500 houses.
The Nexus plan, first outlined last fall, would connect with other pipelines in northern Ohio, southern Michigan and Ontario. It could supply large users of natural gas along its route, including electric power plants seeking to replace coal as their major fuel.
What it will provide
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 flowing to the Detroit-Ontario area, promoters have said. It would run to Union Gas’ Dawn Hub in southern Ontario.
Spectra Energy already operates the Texas Eastern pipeline that runs across southern Ohio. It serves seven power plants and five local distribution companies in Ohio while carrying natural gas from the Gulf Coast and Texas to northeastern United States.
In Ohio, Spectra has 1,029 miles of pipeline in 22 counties. It also has eight Ohio compressor stations that push the natural gas to maintain velocity and pressure in the pipeline.
Bob Downing can be reached at 330-996-3745 or firstname.lastname@example.org.