Abundant Natural Gas Drives Operators To Liquids Shale Plays

By Rita Tubb, Executive Editor | June 2012, Vol. 67 No. 6

A major focus of the pipeline construction session was on new and planned projects. Royston Lightfoot, senior vice president, business development at Crosstex, discussed the Cajun Sibon expansion that involves expanding the company’s fractionation facilities in Louisiana and constructing a new NGL pipeline that would expand access to these facilities and the Louisiana products markets.

The new pipeline will be an extension of the company’s 440-mile Cajun Sibon NGL pipeline.

When completed in 2012, the 130-mile, 12-inch diameter extension will connect the company’s Eunice fractionation facilities in Louisiana to the company’s Mont Belvieu supply pipelines in Texas. Crosstex will invest an estimated $230 million in these projects.

Also in the session, William (Bill) Moler, president and COO, Inergy Midstream L.P. overviewed development of the Marc I Pipeline and the opposition encountered in trying to get the project approved.

According to Moler, 21,000 letters of opposition were submitted to the FERC about the project, while only eight of those came from landowners who would actually be impacted by construction of the project.

Noting that the highest number of letters came from China, Switzerland and France, he said, “The opposition is changing. It is not about the pipeline, it is about hydraulic fracturing. The pipeline simply gives the opposition a voice and – in FERC’s public way of approving pipelines – it gives them a very loud voice.”

Nevertheless, the 39-mile, 30-inch bi-directional Marc I gas pipeline in northern Pennsylvania is under construction and scheduled for completion in the summer of 2012.

The Inergy official also overviewed the company’s plans to jointly market and develop the Commonwealth Pipeline with affiliates of UGI Corp. and WGL Holdings, Inc. The proposed 200-mile, 30 to 36-inch pipeline is expected to transport at least 800,000 Dth/d when it is placed into service in 2015. Its primary purpose is to provide a direct and flexible path for bringing natural gas produced in the Marcellus and Utica Shale plays in Pennsylvania and neighboring states to growing natural gas markets in central and eastern Pennsylvania, the metropolitan areas of Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C., and the Delmarva Peninsula. Plans are for Inergy Midstream to construct and to operate the pipeline, which is expected to cost approximately $1 billion.

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