KENSINGTON, Ohio - More than 1,700 construction workers built the now operational $900 million Utica East Ohio natural gas processing complex that spans Harrison, Carroll and Columbiana counties.
Officials will now expand the plant to process more than 1 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day to address the needs of frackers such as Chesapeake Energy, Total North America, Enervest and American Energy Partners.
Chesapeake Energy originally partnered with M3 Midstream to build this plant, which is also known as the UEO midstream facility. However, Chesapeake spun off its processing subsidiary as Access Midstream. EV Energy Partners joins M3 and Access in the ownership group at the eastern Ohio complex.
The new long-term agreement between the plant and American Energy Partners includes a 145,000-acre area of mutual interest, as well as the installation of 50 miles of gathering pipeline and compression services.
In natural gas processing, the dry methane part of the gas stream is separated from the wet portions, such as ethane, butane, propane and pentane. During fractionation, the natural gas liquids and other substances are separated from each other. These separated gas products are then ready for use, with the ethane possibly going to a cracker plant to become a component of plastic.
According to www.naturalgas. org, "Fractionation works based on the different boiling points of the different hydrocarbons in the natural gas liquids stream. Essentially, fractionation occurs in stages consisting of the boiling off of hydrocarbons one by one."
"Our investment in this expansion at Utica East Ohio underscores our belief in the long-term viability of the Utica Shale," Mike Stice CEO of Access Midstream, said. "We are pleased to grow our partnership with M3 and EV Energy Partners and enhance our ability to continue providing excellent midstream solutions for our customers."