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The Suburbanite
  • Natural gas project now online

  • The billion-dollar Utica East Ohio midstream project has begun taking natural gas from Utica Shale wells, easing a bottle-neck that has kept production from getting to market.

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  • The billion-dollar Utica East Ohio midstream project has begun taking natural gas from Utica Shale wells, easing a bottle-neck that has kept production from getting to market.
    Phase one of the three-phase project started processing natural gas liquids and sending residue natural gas to interstate markets on Sunday, the companies behind the project announced Monday.
    The Utica East Ohio system includes gathering pipelines, a cryogenic processing plant near Kensington in Columbiana County  and a natural gas liquids fractionator, storage and rail facility in Scio in Harrison County.
    The project is a joint venture owned by Access Midstream (49 percent), M3 Midstream (30 percent) and EV Energy Partners (21 percent).
    M3 is responsible for building and running the plants, while Access is constructing and operating the pipelines.
    The cryogenic plant uses cold temperatures to separate methane from the heavier natural gas liquids. The methane goes to an interstate pipeline, while the liquids are sent to Scio, where they are separated by heat into individual products, such as propane, butane and ethane.
    Right now, the Kensington plant can process 200 million cubic feet of natural gas per day, while the Scio plant can fractionate 45,000 barrels of natural gas liquids a day. The system also includes 63 miles of pipeline, according to the announcement.
    When all phases of the project are complete, the Utica East Ohio system will be able to cryogenically process 800 million cubic feet of natural gas per day, fractionate 135,000 barrels of natural gas liquids per day, store 870,000 barrels of natural gas liquids and load 90 rail cars a day, according to the announcement.
    Those numbers do not take into account a cryogenic processing plant proposed for the Leesville area.
    Production from Utica Shale wells has been constrained because of a lack of processing facilities and pipelines.
    More than 1,700 workers have been involved in building the Utica East Ohio system. Approximately 50 workers will be needed to operate the two plants, with another 15 working at the Scio rail terminal. More than 60 percent of the employees hired so far to operate the plants are Ohio natives, the companies said.
    The first phase of the project came in on time and on budget, according to the announcement. The next phase is scheduled to be completed in December. A final completion date has not been revealed.
    Reach Shane at 330-580-8338 or shane.hoover@cantonrep.com.
    On Twitter: @shooverREP