Texas company wants to build 161-mile pipeline through Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania

Source: Akron Beacon Journal

Texas-based Columbia Pipeline Group is seeking federal approval to build a new 161-mile pipeline for natural gas plus three compression stations in southeast Ohio and northern West Virginia.

The company has filed initial paperwork for the Leach XPress Pipeline with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

The $1.4 billion pipeline would carry natural gas from Utica and Marcellus shales in Ohio, West Virginia and western Pennsylvania to markets served by Columbia Gas Transmission and Columbia Gulf Transmission in Mid-Atlantic and Gulf Coast states.

The 36-inch diameter pipeline would transport up to 1.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day. That’s enough to heat 15,000 American houses for one year.

The Columbia Pipeline Group is a unit of Indiana-based NiSource Inc. It is also the parent company of Columbia Gas of Ohio.

The new pipeline would be built by Columbia Transmission.

The project is supported by four drilling companies: Oklahoma-based American Energy Partners LP, Range Resources Corp., Noble Energy Inc. and Kaiser Marketing Appalachia LLC. The four companies have signed up to ship their natural gas in the new line.

Pipeline construction could begin in late 2016 with service beginning in late 2017.

“We have been a part of Ohio and West Virginia for more than 100 years and have an unparalleled footprint in the Marcellus and Utica production areas,” said Glenn Kettering, the Columbia Pipeline Group.

The new pipeline will “increase the capacity and flexibility of the Columbia Transmission and Columbia Gulf systems to further enhance transportation options for producers in Appalachia,” he said.

The eastern terminus of the new pipeline would be near Moundsville, W.Va. It would run west into Ohio to near Lancaster and then south to McArthur. It would run through 10 Ohio counties. A small section of new pipeline would be added near Huntington in West Virginia’s Wayne County.

The new line would connect to the existing Columbia Gulf pipeline to the Gulf Coast at Leach, Ky.

The Columbia Pipeline Group also intends to boost compression on the Rayne Express Pipeline that runs south to Rayne, La. That would boost capacity in the pipeline by 1 billion cubic feet per day. The four companies are supporting that project.

Those plans were announced in August, although the projects have gotten little attention with numerous other pipeline projects being planned and built in eastern Ohio and surrounding states.

The federal agency held five public meetings on the new pipeline in January and February. The company’s FERC application is PF14-23.

The Columbia Pipeline Group operates about 15,000 miles of interstate natural gas pipelines and 37 storage fields. It delivers in excess of 1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas per year.