MarkWest Pioneer LLC on Monday launched a nonbinding open season/reverse open season to determine whether to expand the Arkoma Connector, a 50-mile interstate natural gas pipeline initially designed to deliver 625,000 Dth/d from the Woodford Shale to pipelines destined for eastern markets.

The open seasons are scheduled through 5 p.m. MDT July 20.

MarkWest Pioneer said it received inquiries about adding firm transportation service to the Arkoma Connector. The reverse open season would determine whether existing shippers want to return “all or a portion of their current firm transportation entitlements,” MarkWest said.

Precedent agreements are in place with two anchor shippers: Newfield Exploration Mid-Continent Inc. for 500,000 Dth/d of firm transportation for nine years, and Chesapeake Energy Marketing Inc. for 76,000 Dth/d of firm transportation for 10 years.

The 24-inch diameter Arkoma Connector, which is nearing completion, would extend from the outlet of a MarkWest affiliate’s existing treating plant in northeast Oklahoma to near Bennington, OK, where it would interconnect with the Midcontinent Express Pipeline and Gulf Crossing Pipeline systems. The project includes 19,500 hp of added compression at two compressor stations and associated facilities in Oklahoma’s Coal, Atoka and Bryan counties.

MarkWest Pioneer was formed by MarkWest Energy Partners and ArcLight Capital Partners as a joint venture to construct and operate the pipe (see Daily GPI, May 5). Federal regulators had approved the pipeline project last November (see Daily GPI, Nov. 14, 2008).

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