Marathon Petroleum Corp. (MPC) and Harvest Pipeline Co. have tentatively agreed to develop the capability to ship Utica Shale production from eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania by barge on the Ohio River.

The project would result in up to 24,000 b/d of truck unloading capacity and a terminal capable of loading up to 50,000 b/d onto barges on the Ohio River at Wellsville, OH, the companies said. It would include modifications to MPC’s existing Wellsville river terminal to accommodate the additional volume for loading onto barges, and a new truck rack to be built on property leased by Harvest Pipeline next to the MPC facility.

“With two of our refineries literally on top of the Utica Shale formation, we are committed to positioning ourselves as the customer of choice for liquids production from the Utica,” said George Shaffner, MPC senior vice president of transportation and logistics.

The project could be finished by year-end 2013.

MPC spokesman Shane Pochard emphasized that the companies currently only have a letter of intent to pursue a project. Shipments could be crude oil or other liquid hydrocarbons from the Utica Shale with the target destinations being Marathon refineries in Canton, OH, and Catlettsburg, KY. This summer MPC completed a truck rack capable of unloading 12,000 b/d, expandable to 24,000 b/d, at its Canton refinery.