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Consol-Noble JV to Build Marcellus Dry Gas Pipeline

With natural gas prices increasing, a joint venture (JV) in the Marcellus Shale has announced plans to build a dry gas pipeline across two neighboring counties in north-central West Virginia.

Consol Energy Inc. spokeswoman Lynn Seay told NGI's Shale Daily that Cone Gathering LLC -- the gathering and marketing JV with Noble Energy Inc. -- is planning to build a 24-inch diameter dry gas pipeline from southern Barbour County to northern Upshur County.

The pipeline, which will run 37 miles, will connect the Audra Field in Barbour County to the Century Field in Upshur County. Both fields are dry gas areas. Seay said the project would be completed in six to nine months.

"With [natural gas] prices inching up, people are getting ready," West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association Executive Director Corky DeMarco told NGI's Shale Daily on Tuesday. "As we have experienced in the northern part of the state, especially in the northern panhandle, we started drilling a bunch of wells and had to shut them in and couldn't complete them because the pipelines weren't there."

DeMarco said the plans by Consol and Noble "are probably a little bit unique to that area, but there are some people who have looked into other areas and found out that the pipelines were full. If you're going to get this gas to market, you're going to need to build some additional infrastructure."

According to data from the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), as of Oct. 1, 2012 there were 3,263 wells permitted in Barbour County, of which 2,037 were active but 560 had not been drilled. Consol Gas Co. had 364 wells in the county.

Meanwhile, the DEP said there were 3,846 wells permitted in Upshur County, of which 2,369 were active but 455 had not been drilled. Consol had 291 wells there.

During an earnings conference call last month, Consol officials said they expect gas production to be between 170 Bcfe and 180 Bcfe for the full-year 2013, of which they predicted 34% would come from the Marcellus (see Shale Daily, April 29). But the largest share of the gas (47%) was expected to come from coalbed methane.

Consol is a JV partner with Noble in the Marcellus and Hess Corp. in the Utica (see Shale Daily, Sept 8, 2011; Aug. 19, 2011).

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