Operations were back to normal on Wednesday in the Appalachian Basin, only days after MarkWest Energy Partners LP declared a force majeure following an operational issue at its Hopedale Fractionation Facility in southeast Ohio that knocked out a large amount of natural gas production.
While estimates varied, an outage on a MarkWest natural gas liquids (NGL) pipeline feeding the plant cut more than 2 Bcf/d of scheduled deliveries on two other major pipelines in the region. Three processing plants were forced to ramp down operations due to a lack of volumes, resulting in a shut-in of dry gas production.
The loss of production appeared to spark a rally in prices to start the work week, but the issue was resolved by Tuesday, when volumes began to normalize, according to Columbia Gas Transmission (TCO). TCO was forced to reduce operational capacity by 2.1 Bcf/d earlier in the week, and the Equitrans system also lost 400 MMcf/d, according to Genscape Inc. analyst Anthony Ferrara, who said the “two events were clearly connected.”
The Hopedale facility is in Harrison County. MarkWest parent MPLX LP on Wednesday said it could not provide additional details about what happened, but the event primarily impacted deliveries into TCO in northern West Virginia and eastern Pennsylvania. Equitrans had also restored capacity at Meter 24605 by Tuesday, Genscape said.
MarkWest is Appalachia’s largest natural gas processor, with more than 7 Bcf/d of cryogenic capacity and 600,000 b/d of fractionation online.