Kinder Morgan Building New Marcellus Shale Pipeline from Pennsylvania to Michigan

Kinder Morgan, a pipeline and energy storage company, will build a new 250-mile pipeline from Pennsylvania to the Cochin Pipeline in Michigan to move Marcellus Shale gas to processing facilities and markets in the Midwestern U.S. and Canada.

From the Kinder Morgan press release:

HOUSTON, April 20, 2010 – Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, L.P. today announced plans to modify and expand the existing Cochin Pipeline system to provide a solution for transporting natural gas liquids (NGL) from the Marcellus Shale Basin to fractionation plants and chemical markets near Sarnia, Ontario, and Chicago, Ill.

Kinder Morgan plans to build approximately 250 miles of NGL pipeline from the Marcellus Shale Basin in southern Pennsylvania to the Cochin interconnect at Riga, Mich. From Riga, Kinder Morgan anticipates that product will be transported through the existing Cochin Pipeline system to Windsor, Ontario, and then through the Windsor-Sarnia Pipeline to Sarnia. Kinder Morgan also plans to reverse the eastern leg of its Cochin pipeline in order to move NGLs from Riga to the Chicago area, where it expects to build an additional pipeline to connect to existing fractionation facilities and chemical plants.

“Our proposed pipeline and key existing infrastructure offers NGL producers the quickest and most efficient solution to get their product to the market,” said Don Lindley, vice president of business development for Kinder Morgan’s Products Pipeline group.

The pipeline will be designed to transport mixed NGLs (Y-grade), as well as purity NGLs such as ethane, and will have an initial throughput capacity of 75,000 barrels per day and can be expanded to handle up to 175,000 barrels per day.

The recent decision by Canada’s National Energy Board directing the reconnection of the Cochin Pipeline to the Windsor-Sarnia Pipeline will enable Cochin Pipeline shippers to have access to the Sarnia chemical complex. Kinder Morgan anticipates offering transportation from Marcellus to Sarnia for under 14 cents per gallon.

Kinder Morgan expects to move forward with an open season in the second quarter of 2010.

Kinder Morgan Press Release (Apr 20) – Kinder Morgan Offers Quick and Efficient Solution to Move Marcellus NGLs to Market

A New and Potentially Safer Way to Treat Marcellus Shale Wastewater

A Pittsburgh startup company formed at the Pittsburgh Allegheny-Singer Research Institute believes it has developed a better solution than current alternatives for treating wastewater from drilling Marcellus Shale gas wells. Frac Biologics Inc. was founded by physicians, so it’s no surprise the technology comes from the medical community:

“The idea for the company came from our work with biofilms, which are (cell) communities that we try to manipulate or get rid of to treat human disease,” said Christopher Post, a physician and CEO of the 3-month-old company. Other founders are physician William Costerton and Garth Ehrlich. All three are Allegheny-Singer directors.

Allegheny-Singer researchers found the biofilms love to eat heavy metals, such as strontium, nickel, even uranium. The metals, in effect, fuel the biofilms, Post said.*

Water used in drilling Marcellus wells often comes out of the well containing small quantities of heavy metals. One of the objections to hydraulic fracturing is that wastewater from drilling eventually needs to be returned to the environment, and if it’s laced with heavy metals it is not safe. If Frac Biologics is successful with their concept, perhaps some of those objections can be addressed.

*Pittsburgh Tribute-Review (Apr 22) – New company says it can safely handle Marcellus wastewater

Atlas Energy/Reliance Industries Pay $192 Million for Leases on 42K Acres in PA Marcellus Shale

The recently announced joint venture between Atlas Energy and Indian energy giant Reliance Industries (a deal worth $3.5 billion over 10 years) is already bearing fruit. Together they’ve just forked over $192 million to secure leases for more land in Pennsylvania.

Independent oil and gas company Atlas Energy will buy 42,344 acres in the gas-rich Marcellus shale along with Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), weeks after the two announced a joint venture.

The companies will buy the acreage in Fayette, Washington, Indiana, Westmoreland, Armstrong and Clarion Counties of Pennsylvania at an average price of $4,532 per acre.

Following Wednesday’s deal, the Atlas-RIL joint venture will control about 343,000 Marcellus Shale acres, of which about 206,000 acres are net to Atlas.*

According to the Atlas Energy website:

Substantially all of the acreage to be acquired is held by production and is either contiguous with the joint venture’s existing acreage or is in concentrated blocks of acreage. [Atlas] believes that it will be able to drill over 450 horizontal wells on this acquired acreage assuming 1,000 foot spacing between lateral wells.**

*Hindustan Times/Reuters (Apr 22) – Atlas, RIL to buy more shale acreage for $4,532 per acre

**Atlas Energy Press Release (Apr 21) – Atlas Energy, Inc. and Reliance Industries Jointly Acquire over 42,000 Additional Acres within Their Core Marcellus Shale Position