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More Ohio NatGas Processing Scheduled for Start-Up This Month

Two new cryogenic processing plants are expected to begin operations in Ohio's Utica Shale this month, representing a combined 400 MMcf/d of capacity for producers in the region with shut-in wells waiting for it.

Blue Racer Midstream LLC, a joint venture (JV) formed in 2012 by Dominion Resources Inc. and Caiman Energy II LLC (see Shale Daily, Dec. 24, 2012), will bring online its first processing train at the Berne complex in Monroe County, OH, said Caiman spokeswoman Casey Nikoloric. Construction at the complex began in January and since then wells brought online in Monroe and adjacent counties have proved to be some of the play's best (see Shale Daily, June 2;Feb. 14).

Nikoloric said the 200 MMcf/d complex is complete and waiting on utilities and a pipeline connection to Blue Racer's Natrium Natural Gas Processing and Fractionation plant in Marshall County, WV, so natural gas liquids (NGL) can be delivered for separation. 

A second 200 MMcf/d train is already under construction and is to be operational early next year, pending a fractionation expansion at Natrium that's expected to be complete in April. The expansion would take Natrium's fractionation capacity from the current 46,000 b/d to 125,000 b/d.

The plant coming online this month is nearly close to capacity with firm commitments from producers. A third train is eventually planned for Berne along with another at Natrium that would bring Blue Racer's total cryogenic capacity to about 1 Bcf/d, Nikoloric said.

Meanwhile, Utica East Ohio (UEO) Midstream, a JV of Access Midstream Partners LP, M3 Midstream LLC and EV Energy Partners LP, expects to bring a second 200 MMcf/d cryogenic processing plant online this month at its Leesville complex in Carroll County, OH. That train would complement UEO's sprawling system, which runs from Columbiana to Harrison counties and consists of cryogenic processing, fractionation and NGL storage.

When UEO announced the second Leesville train in May, it said capacity would go from 800 MMcf/d to more than 1 Bcf/d (see Shale Daily, May 12). The company also said volumes from the Chesapeake Energy Corp., Total E&P USA and EV Energy JV were expected to increase throughput by 70%, as more than 200 wells in the area were shut-in waiting for additional processing capacity.

NGL production has been expected to rise in the Utica as more processing facilities come online (see Shale Daily, March 10). According to the Ohio Oil and Gas Association, there is currently 2.5 Bcf/d of processing capacity available.

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