When it comes to infrastructure and acquisitions, the Utica and Marcellus Shale formations in the northeast seem to take the cake, and now two huge operators in the Utica are adding to the region’s long list of pipeline systems.
MarkWest Energy Partners LP and Marathon Petroleum Corp., which recently shared they will be merging, are building a gathering system together that will transport natural gas from northern Belmont and Jefferson Counties in Ohio.
As reported by the Columbus Business First, “The system is pinned on a large commitment from Ascent Resources – Utica LLC, an Appalachian drilling subsidiary of American Energy Partners LP that recently changed its name from American Energy – Utica LLC. Utica shale pioneer Aubrey McClendon founded American Energy Partners in 2013. He’s now involved in legal battles over Ohio land and data disputes.”
Currently, Ascent owns an estimated 280,000 acres in the Utica and Marcellus Shale formations. The company has dedicated 100,000 of its acreage to the new pipeline system MarkWest and Marathon will be constructing in Ohio. According to MarkWest, the system, which will consist of over 250 miles of pipeline, has the potential to send nearly 2 billion cubic feet of dry gas per day. The company is hoping to have the gathering system up and transporting by the end of the year.
The plan is for Ascent to “anchor the system,” and eventually MarkWest will add other producers. MarkWest’s CEO Frank Semple made the following comment during his announcement of the gathering system:
Our system will be a critical new gathering option, and we anticipate total investment could exceed $1 billion over the next three years.