Benwood Is End Of The Pipeline

BENWOOD – GreenHunter Resources’ planned pipeline system to transport water, drilling waste and hydrocarbons from southwestern Pennsylvania to the Ohio River will end in or near Benwood, company officials revealed in their most recent earnings statement.

And based on the company’s initial announcement concerning the pipeline, GreenHunter’s plans in the Benwood area could also include a processing facility that will split natural gas condensates into different byproducts.

GreenHunter officials initially had been tight-lipped about the starting and destination points for the planned pipeline system, citing ongoing right-of-way negotiations. Although it does not identify specific property, the company’s second-quarter report, released this month, indicates the system will begin near Claysville, Pa., and end at an area near Benwood.

“Our decision last year to focus all of our efforts in Appalachia is beginning to bear fruit,” said GreenHunter Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Kirk Trosclair in a prepared statement. He referenced the company’s sale of some of its assets in Texas in order to free up more resources for operations in the Marcellus and Utica shale regions.

It’s unclear whether GreenHunter has already acquired property in the Benwood area for a barging terminal or processing facility. The company is still waiting for clearance from the U.S. Coast Guard to transport fracking waste on the river by barge.

John Jack, the company’s vice president of business operations, could not be reached for comment. Attempts to reach Benwood Mayor Ed Kuca also were unsuccessful Tuesday.

The pipeline system will include three separate lines, one each for brine, fresh water and hydrocarbons, with a combined capacity of 270,000 barrels per day. A Michigan firm will build and own the pipelines, but GreenHunter has an agreement for exclusive use of the pipelines for 10 years, with two five-year renewal options.

GreenHunter anticipates the pipeline system will be complete by Jan. 1, 2016, with the processing facility at its endpoint scheduled to be online by the third quarter of 2016.

In the meantime, there’s been no movement on GreenHunter’s plans to build a frack water treatment facility along the river in the Warwood area of Wheeling. Those plans have been met with fierce opposition from neighborhood residents and some city leaders who are concerned about the potential for a spill barely a mile from the city water treatment plant’s intake.

The city’s Planning Commission has approved the first phase of the company’s proposal, which includes a recycling plant for oil and gas drilling wastewater and 19 1,000-gallon storage tanks. But because the nearby Wheeling Heritage Trail sits on a narrow strip of land that is zoned residential, Wheeling city leaders maintain GreenHunter will need a zone change to use the existing barge terminal, formerly owned by Seidler Oil Service. However, the company says it has an easement which gives them the right to use an existing pipe that runs beneath the trail to the terminal.

GreenHunter officials have said their spill containment system meets all federal regulations and maintain that transporting fluids by barge is safer than trucking the material and will reduce the number of heavy trucks on area roads.