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Dominion Targeting Marcellus Shale With New Pipe

Dominion is targeting the Appalachian Basin with a pipeline project that would carry shale and traditional gas production from West Virginia and southwestern Pennsylvania to storage fields and pipelines in Pennsylvania. It is one of three pipeline projects the company has in the works to target the region.

"Marcellus Shale and traditional production have increased the natural gas available from the Appalachian Basin," said Dominion Energy CEO Gary Sypolt. "The Appalachian Gateway Project will lessen the bottleneck currently preventing some of the natural gas produced in West Virginia and southwest Pennsylvania from getting to customers in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic who are in need of new supplies."

Independent energy analyst Pat Rau told NGI recently that the Marcellus Shale is among the key shale plays in which pipeline bottlenecks are emerging (see NGI, Sept. 21).

Dominion is seeking pre-filing status for Appalachian Gateway at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), it said last Monday. Sypolt said the project is fully subscribed by Marcellus Shale and other Appalachian producers. The total firm capacity of the project would be 484,260 Dth/d. The approximate cost for facilities in the FERC request is $600 million. Plans are for construction to begin in 2011 and for the project to be in service in 2012.

Four compressor stations would be constructed and upgrades would be made at two existing stations, adding about 17,000 hp. About 110 miles of pipeline would be laid, beginning in West Virginia and terminating at Dominion and Spectra Energy's jointly owned Oakford facility in Delmont, PA, east of Pittsburgh.

The project would consist of new compressor stations (all in West Virginia) Burch Ridge in Marshall County, Cheylan in Kanawha County, Morrison Junction in Harrison County and Lewis-Wetzel in Wetzel County. The existing Schutte station in Doddridge County, WV, would have an existing unit modified; and the existing Pepper station in Barbour County, WV, would get a new unit. A 44-mile, 30-inch diameter pipeline would begin at the new Burch Ridge station and run to the existing Crayne Station in Greene County, PA. And a 55-mile, 24-inch diameter pipeline would parallel existing pipelines from Crayne Station to Oakford and would pass through Greene, Washington, Allegheny and Westmoreland counties. There would also be a 6-mile, 24-inch diameter pipeline from the producing areas south of Crayne to the Crayne Station and a five-mile, 20-inch diameter pipeline into the new Cheylan Station.

Appalachian Gateway is one of three Dominion projects that target the Marcellus Shale. Recently Dominion partnered with Williams to develop the Keystone Connector project, which would carry up to 1 Bcf/d from the Rockies Express Pipeline (REX) terminus in Ohio to eastern and Mid-Atlantic markets (see NGI, Aug. 17). Williams earlier this year created a midstream joint venture (JV) with Atlas Pipeline Partners LP that gives the company access to the Marcellus Shale (see NGI, April 6) and followed that up with a JV with Rex Energy Corp. (see NGI, June 29).

"The Keystone Connector project is a subsequent project," Don Raikes, a vice president with Dominion Resources told NGI last week. "We're still in the preliminary parts of that project. There may be some gas that is coming in from [Appalachian] Gateway and can potentially go out on Keystone Connector on a secondary basis."

Dominion also has a project called Marcellus Northeast, which targets gas in central and northern Pennsylvania. "That's where a lot of development is going on," Raikes said. "Our target market for that is those producers who would like to go to either Leidy [PA] or Millennium [Pipeline] as an outlet." Raikes said Marcellus Northeast is in the design phase and is likely to be sized to carry 250,000 to 300,000 Dth/d.

As fast as producers are developing new supplies in the Marcellus Shale, pipeline operators are lining up new pipes to criss-cross the Appalachians. Recently Inergy Midstream LLC reported on successful open seasons for two pipeline projects in the area, National Fuel Gas Supply Corp. announced an open season for new pipe capacity in central Pennsylvania, and NiSource Inc. said it was looking for partners for the largest plan so far, a $1.7 billion investment in two new Marcellus lines (see NGI, Aug. 31).

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