The natural gas boom in the Marcellus Shale region of West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania has resulted in $15 billion in proposed pipeline construction projects. The Atlantic Coast Pipeline, Rover Pipeline, Mountain Valley Pipeline and Leach XPress will distribute natural gas across the country and all are scheduled to begin construction soon, along with smaller pipelines to connect the 4 and transport liquid natural gas from the Marcellus Shale region in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio to the rest of the country.
According to an article in the Wheeling News-Register/The Intelligencer, developers have confirmed the 4 interstate pipeline projects will fall under the auspices of both the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the US Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. All are at different points in the permitting and construction phases but all are expected to be under construction by the end of 2015.
The $5 billion Atlantic Coast Pipeline, developed by Dominion Resources, Duke Energy, Piedmont Natural Gas and AGL Resources, is planned to be 550 miles long with the 42-inch pipeline diameter. The pipeline’s proposed route runs through West Virginia; southeast across central Virginia, south through North Carolina to the border of South Carolina.
The $4.3 billion Rover Pipeline, developed by ET Rover Co., will be able to transport up to 3.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day.
Its proposed route includes a 36-inch pipeline and 42-inch connecting various counties in West Virginia, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
The Leach Xpress will be a 36-inch diameter pipeline with an estimated cost of $1.75 billion to developer NiSource Inc. It will ship dry methane natural gas southwest from a compressor in West Virginia along the Ohio River, west under the Ohio River, west across southeast Ohio to an area near Lancaster, Ohio, due south from there to another crossing of the Ohio River and finally to a compressor station in Ceredo, W.Va., near Huntington.
The $3-plus billion Mountain Valley Pipeline, developed by EQT Corp., would run 330 miles south from the MarkWest Energy Mobley complex in Wetzel County, W. Va. to the Transcontinental Gas Pipeline Co. Zone 5 compressor station 165 in Virginia.
All of these new pipelines will go up against stiff activist opposition before FERC grants approval and will have to convince landowners, local governments and the EPA that they can be built and operated safely. Pipelines are very desirable for both drilling companies and processors as they eliminate expensive freight costs that are currently flooding the nation’s railways, a shortage that is also damaging commodities as producers of everything from coal to pork bellies are waiting longer for freight train cars.
Steel producers are also salivating the prospect of selling that much 35- and 42-inch pipe.
by Jeff Yoders
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