Kinder Morgan ponders second pipeline in Ohio

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Kinder Morgan is evaluating whether to build a second pipeline to take natural gas liquids from Ohio’s Utica Shale to Ontario.

The second pipeline, dubbed Utopia West, is in the very early stages of consideration, according to a company spokeswoman.

The Houston-based midstream giant already has begun work on its $500-million Utica To Ontario Pipeline Access (Utopia) East project, which will ship ethane and ethane-propane mixtures from Ohio to Canada.

That pipeline is a 240-mile, 12-inch diameter pipeline originating in Harrison County, Ohio, that will connect to Kinder Morgan’s Cochin Pipeline near Riga, Michigan. From there, Kinder Morgan plans to move product eastward to Windsor, Ontario.

Utopia East is expected to be in service in January 2018 and have an initial 50,000 barrels per day of capacity with the capacity for expansion to more than 75,000 b/d.

But the company saw additional opportunities for a pipeline into which the Utopia systems will feed. The Cochin Pipeline is a 1,900-mile, 12-inch diameter pipeline that transports hydrocarbon liquids between the United States and Canada. It spans from Alberta, Canada, to Ontario, Canada. Cochin crosses three provinces in Canada and seven states in the United States.

“We are recognizing that we have some underutilized pipeline on Cochin on a project we’re calling Utopia West,” said Ron McClain, president of Kinder Morgan’s pipelines group, during the company’s analyst day conference.

The company is considering building Utopia West in parallel to Utopia East.

“We think there would be large synergies on the cost of construction if you did them simultaneously,” Mr. McClain said. “But we won’t do that without committed shippers. We’re working on that now and will probably have a lot of interest because of the cost of doing this simultaneously.”

Utopia West would ship natural gasoline from the growing Utica and Marcellus shale plays and have capacity of up to 95,000 barrels per day.

Natural gasoline is an NGL that can be blended into fuels for combustion engines and is used in well production and in oil sands production, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.