Responding to shipper interest in a natural gas liquids (NGL) pipeline servicing the Marcellus and Utica shales, Sunoco Logistics Partners LP launched a binding open season for its Mariner East 2 project on Wednesday.

According to Sunoco, the Mariner East 2 project calls for development of a pipeline from Scio, OH, to a terminal in Marcus Hook, PA on the Delaware River south of Philadelphia, operated by subsidiary Sunoco Partners Marketing & Terminals LP. The pipeline, which will transport ethane, propane and butane, is expected to be in service by early 2016.

“We are bullish on the production growth from the Marcellus and Utica shales,” said Sunoco Logistics CEO Michael Hennigan, adding that the company believes the supply of NGLs “will continue to outpace demand.

“Mariner East 2 would provide the highest value option for producers in this region as an export solution on the East Coast. We will continue to add storage and expand our Marcus Hook complex to be a world-class NGL facility on the East Coast. In addition, the 800-acre Marcus Hook site is well positioned for further NGL processing.”

According to a map of the Mariner East 2 project, the pipeline would originate at Utica East Ohio Midstream LLC’s (UEO) fractionation facility in Scio and service MarkWest Energy Partners LLC’s fractionator at Hopedale, OH (see Shale Daily,July 29). The project would also be connected, through third-party pipelines, to Williams’ fractionator in Moundsville, WV, and Blue Racer Midstream LLC’s fractionator in Natrium, WV (see Shale Daily,Oct. 30;March 20, 2012).

Sunoco Logistics spokesman Jeffrey Shields said the company has not announced an end date to the open season.

If constructed, Mariner East 2 would compete against two other recently announced projects that would transport NGLs from the Appalachian Basin to the Gulf Coast.

Last month, Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP and MarkWest Utica EMG LLC announced a binding open season running through Dec. 20 for a proposed Y-grade pipeline to take NGLs to Mont Belvieu, TX (see Shale Daily, Nov. 11). In October, Bluegrass Pipeline LLC, a joint venture of Williams and Boardwalk Pipeline Partners LP, launched an open season to transport NGLs to the Lake Charles, LA, area (see Shale Daily, Oct. 25).