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Dominion Can Begin Construction Of Gas Facility In Marshall County

By Staff | Aug 10, 2011

With the completion of archaeological digging, Dominion Transmission is ready to move forward with its natural gas processing facility on land next to the PPG Industries plant in Marshall County, just north of the Wetzel County line.

“This will be built on the ground where the archaeological dig took place. This is property Dominion now owns,” Dominion spokesman Dan Donovan said Thursday.

Dominion acquired the property from PPG. The West Virginia State Historic Preservation Office previously issued an excavation permit to Dominion for the dig.

The Dominion plant–which is expected to be in service by December 2012–should employ 40-50 full-time workers once complete, in addition to the many construction jobs that will come from building it. Public officials and industry leaders hailed the Thursday announcement as good news for the local economy and the natural gas business.

Chesapeake Energy, currently the Upper Ohio Valley’s most active natural gas driller, has agreed to supply the Dominion facility with 100 million cubic feet of natural gas per day for processing. Phase one of the project calls for processing 200 million cubic feet per day; Chesapeake also has the option to provide the additional gas to reach the plant’s capacity.

“We’re pleased the expanded capacity will provide enhanced access to markets,” said Chesapeake’s Director of Corporate Development Stacey Brodak.

“We are working to secure additional producer commitments for a second phase of the project,” said Thomas F. Farrell II, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Dominion. “Once those contracts are finalized, efforts to expand the Natrium facility to process a total of 400 million cubic feet of natural gas per day and fractionate 59,000 barrels of natural gas liquids per day will be under way.”

Dominion exercised its option with PPG to purchase land and locate the new plant adjacent to PPG’s Natrium facility in Marshall County, about nine miles north of New Martinsville. The facility will connect to an existing Dominion pipeline in Ohio and West Virginia that was recently converted to handle “wet” gas, which is rich in natural gas liquids in addition to the “dry” methane natural gas.

The plant is expected to be able to fractionate–or separate the gas from the ethane, propane, and butane liquids–about 36,000 barrels of the natural gas liquids daily.

The Dominion facility should not be confused with local officials’ plans to attract another plant called an ethane cracker, possibly to property near the Bayer Corp. site at New Martinsville. At a cracker plant, ethane would would be further processed into ethylene to make plastic.

Gary Sypolt, chief executive officer of Dominion Energy, said the Natrium site is an ideal location for such a plant.

“We will have the capability to access production in both the Marcellus and Utica Shale regions, and ship products via barge, rail, truck, and pipe, thus offering significant value to producers,” he said.

Anne Bomar, senior vice president and general manager of Dominion East Ohio, said gas retrieved from the Utica Shale will reach Natrium’s services through the large diameter, high pressure pipelines.

“Natrium will be a world class facility,” said Paul Ruppert, senior vice president of Dominion Transmission. “It is being constructed to the latest industry standards to be an extremely reliable plant, which should be appealing to producers looking to capture the greatest value.”

The new facility is a response to the need for additional processing and fractionation capacity in the region. The rising price of oil and the low price of natural gas have shifted drilling activity in the region from the dry gas to the wet gas areas as producers look to capture the economic value of natural gas liquids, company information notes.

“I want to thank Dominion for its commitment to expanding our nation’s energy independence by investing here in West Virginia,” Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said. “The employment and economic expansion expected from the construction and operation of the Natrium plant in Marshall County confirms the strength of West Virginia’s natural gas industry. Investments like this will lead America forward on the path toward energy independence.”

“I want to applaud Dominion for their responsible use of our vast natural gas resources to create jobs for West Virginia and move us closer to energy independence,” said Congressman David B. McKinley, P.E., who represents West Virginia’s District 1. “Discovery of Marcellus Shale has already created hundreds of jobs in northern West Virginia and we must protect those jobs for the people of our state. I am pleased that Dominion has recognized West Virginia is full of hard working and determined people. This is a good move for our state.”