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MarkWest to Double Fractionation at Hopedale Complex in Ohio

MarkWest Energy Partners LP plans to double the propane and heavier fractionation capacity at its Hopedale complex in Harrison County, OH, with an expansion expected to be complete by the first quarter of 2015.

The announcement is just the latest from MarkWest as it tries to meet growing demand for processing in the Appalachian Basin. In May, the company said it would add another 400 MMcf/d of rich gas processing capacity with two new cryogenic plants in West Virginia (see Shale Daily, May 7). On Monday, the company brought online its Bluestone II facility in western Pennsylvania to boost capacity in that region (see Shale Daily, June 2).

MarkWest said the expansion at Hopedale, which was completed in January, will be supported under new contracted commitments from "numerous producer customers" operating in the Utica and Marcellus Shale plays.

When complete, the facility will have 120,000 b/d of fractionation capacity, up from the 60,000 b/d it came online with, increasing MarkWest's total fractionation capacity at four complexes in the Northeast to 300,000 b/d.

"As Northeast [natural gas liquids] production continues to grow, in-basin fractionation will be essential to support the ongoing development plans of our producers in the Utica and Marcellus," said MarkWest CEO Frank Semple.

Last month, MarkWest said it had 17 major processing and fractionation projects under development at nine locations in Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. Although it expects to complete more than half of those projects this year, company officials have said at recent public appearances that they can't build processing and fractionation facilities fast enough to keep up with rising production in the basin (see Shale Daily, Feb 3).

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