M3 Midstream LLC president and chief executive officer Frank Tsuru today announced that as of July 28th the first phase of the Utica East Ohio Midstream, LLC (UEO) project is in service, receiving rich Utica Shale production, processing natural gas liquids and redelivering residue gas to interstate markets. This milestone makes UEO, a joint venture owned 49% by Access Midstream, 30% by M3 and 21% by EV Energy Partners, the first fully integrated gathering, processing and fractionation complex to be put into operation in eastern Ohio.
At project start-up, the UEO system includes approximately 63 miles of natural gas and natural gas liquids gathering lines, a 200-million cubic-feet-per-day cryogenic processing facility located near Kensington, Columbiana County, and a 45,000-barrel-per-day natural gas liquids fractionation, storage and rail facility near Scio, Harrison County. With the completion of the second and third phases of the project, the UEO system will consist of 800-million cubic-feet-per-day of cryogenic processing, 135,000 barrels-per-day of natural gas liquids fractionation, 870,000 barrels of natural gas liquids storage and a rail facility capable of loading 90 cars-per day with full scalability to increase processing, fractionation and rail loading capacity to almost double the initial amount. M3 serves as the facility manager of the plant facilities and is responsible for their construction and operation. Access Midstream is responsible for the construction and operation of all pipeline facilities upstream of the UEO plants.
“Completing the first stage of this project is an important milestone in advancing the development of the Utica Shale formation in Ohio, as wells can begin producing both natural gas and natural gas liquids, with this processing system getting those products an important step closer to homes, businesses and industrial users,” said Tsuru. “We are pleased to commission the first fully integrated natural gas processing and fractionation project in Ohio, and proud that these facilities have been built safely and in compliance with Ohio’s environmental regulations.”
Access Midstream CEO Mike Stice said, “This heroic accomplishment was the direct result of a collaborative effort between Access and M3 to meet our upstream customer needs. Access provided the gathering and compression while M3 delivered on the processing and fractionation. Together, phase one of this multi-phase development resulted in 200 MMcfd of capacity being placed in operation both on time and on budget.”
Mark Houser, President and CEO of EV Energy Partners commented, “We are thrilled to be part of the midstream infrastructure development of the Utica Shale play. The commencement of operations for the UEO project will be a huge boost for the Utica Shale producers that have been significantly constrained by the lack of sufficient midstream infrastructure in the area.”
More than 1,700 people have been employed to construct the UEO facilities. Approximately 50 people will be employed to operate the two facilities, with an additional 15 jobs focused on operating the rail terminal at the Scio plant. More than 60 percent of the workers hired to date to operate the plants are natives of Ohio.
Construction will continue on the second processing and fractionation units, which are scheduled to be completed in December 2013.