Penn Virginia Resource Partners LP (PVR) has begun commercial operations on the first large-diameter gathering pipeline in the north-central Pennsylvania Marcellus fairway, the Radnor, PA, company said.

The first section of the gathering system in Lycoming County, PA, provides more than 850 MMcf/d of capacity on a 30-inch trunkline that connects to Transcontinental Gas Pipeline Co. LLC’s interstate system.

A subsidiary of Range Resources contracted for “significant firm capacity” on the new system, the company said.

The deal between PVR and Range established an area of mutual interest in north-central Pennsylvania that includes parts of Lycoming, Tioga and Bradford counties, a region where Range leases significant acreage. PVR said it is currently building pipelines and related facilities to expand the service area of the system. That includes plans to extend the system into southern Tioga County to connect producers in that area to Northeast markets.

PVR said it is negotiating with other producers in the area to get additional commitments.

“We look forward to continuing to work closely with Range and other area producers to meet their gathering and compression needs, and to provide the critical transportation links to interstate carriers and end-use markets,” said William H. Shea Jr., CEO of PVR’s general partner said.

The Lycoming system is PVR’s second in the Marcellus region. Last year the company began operations on a 12-inch diameter gathering system in Wyoming County in northeast Pennsylvania. “With work ongoing to extend both this new Lycoming system, as well as our existing gathering system operating in the Wyoming County area, we expect to significantly expand the scope and activity of our Marcellus area businesses,” Shea said.

PVR operates more than 4,200 miles of gas gathering lines and six processing systems with about 400 MMcf/d capacity in Texas, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania. PVR also owns an upstream coal and gas division.