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Third Tower Rises Above East Ohio Processor Plant

January 14, 2014
By STEVE RAPPACH For The Intelligencer , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

Crews were busy Saturday erecting a third 160-foot tall demethanizer tower at the 170-acre Utica East Ohio Kensington Plant.

Baron John, construction manager for UEO, said more than two months of preparation went into Saturday's effort, and the tower took two hours to build. "We had 20 people, and used smaller cranes with maximizers for extra weights as the tower was raised," John said.

After freezing temperatures kept workers inside Monday and Tuesday, preparation resumed Wednesday at the Columbiana County plant. Just as the crew was about to raise the tank, however, the weather forced another change of plans.

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The third demethanizer tower was put into place at the Utica East Ohio Kensington plant Saturday in Columbiana County. Working in between breaks in the rain and wind, the placement of the tower marks another completion in Phase III of the building process.

"We were looking to raise it around 3:30," John said. "Then we got a little thunderstorm going through, so that pushed us back an hour, but once we got back outside, it was moving very smoothly."

With construction completed, the next step is to commission the tower for operation, which is expected to happen within the next three months.

"We had to plan out the tower carefully," John said. "Now we're about to work toward its commission, which should be completed by the end of April."

The facility serves as a collection and compression point for the natural gas collected from Utica shale wells in Eastern Ohio, and the 160-foot towers separate the natural gas liquids from the shale gas.

When the project first started in 2012, the New Zealand native served as construction coordinator for the Kensington site. Now he is construction manager for all three UEO plants, which also include the Scioto and Leesburg plants.

"It is amazing how I've been able to work in a bigger capacity," John said. "The business is time consuming, and I'm definitely keeping busy."

John said the third tower may not be the end of expansion and hinted that a fourth tower might be built if necessary.

"We have the room, space and ability to build another tower," John said. "Down the road we may consider adding another tower. We have the design available, but we have no need to build it yet."

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