Quietly, Blue Racer Midstream's Natrium I plant in West Virginia is again up and running.



The plant, a key facility in processing Ohio's Utica shale, had been closed since a September explosion and fire.



The company issued a press release on Monday that included one sentence about the facility re-opening.



Here is what the company said: "The Natrium I processing unit has recently returned to service following a temporary shutdown that occurred after a fire damaged the unit."



The $500 million cryogenic processing plant in northern West Virginia opened last summer.



The plant is part of $1.5 billion transportation-and-processing venture between Dominion Resources and Caiman Energy II LLC.



The plant on the Ohio River in Natrium, W.Va., can handle 200 million cubic feet of natural gas per day, plus it can fractionate or separate 36,000 42-gallon barrels of natural gas liquids (ethane, butane, propane, isobutane, unrefined gasoline) per day.



The plant is close to natural gas transmission lines that can ship the gas to market after it is processed. It is also close to highways, rail and the Ohio River.

 



Plans call for expanding the plant to 400 million cubic feet per day and fractionate 59,000 barrels of natural gas liquids per day. That addition should be operating by the first quarter 2014.

 

Two other processing plants, each capable of handing 200 million cubic feet per day, would then be built by Blue Racer in Ohio's Monroe and Mahoning counties. The three facilities together would be capable of processing 1 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day as the Utica shale development grows.