The second phase of oil industry development within the Appalachian Basin has seen construction of pipelines to move natural gas from well fields to processing centers, according to a study by Energy In Depth.
Pipeline construction projects have fed $32.6 billion of investments and generated more than 124,000 jobs as companies build more than 3,500 miles of pipelines, the oil and gas industry marketing agency said in the study.
The Appalachian Basin covers parts of Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, and includes the Utica Shale formation in southeastern Ohio. Over the past 10 years, drilling in the region has increased because hydraulic fracturing of shale rock releases more dry and liquid natural gas.
Of 25 pipeline projects approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, seven pass through Ohio. The list includes the Nexus pipeline that crosses through northern Stark County and the Rover line that passes through several townships in the southern part of the county.
Nexus and Rover are among five operational pipelines, according to the the study. Three other pipelines are partially operational, while 17 pipeline projects are under construction or seeking approval.
Construction of two ethane cracker facilities — one west of Pittsburgh and the second planned for Belmont County — could lead to more pipeline projects, Energy In Depth suggested. The crackers will use natural gas liquids to produce ethane, a key component for making plastics.
The investment in pipelines shows the Appalachian Basin's viability to continue producing and supplying natural gas and natural gas liquids in the years ahead, said Dan Alfaro, a spokesman for Energy In Depth.
Ohio has 2,167 wells producing in the Utica Shale formation, while another 875 wells have received permits and are being drilled, according to numbers provided earlier this month by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.