MarkWest Energy Partners and its subsidiary companies concentrate on what the industry calls the “midstream” area of natural gas drilling—that is, gathering, processing and transporting natural gas. MarkWest’s quarterly report includes an update on their expanding capacity to process natural gas and natural gas liquids in the Marcellus Shale of Pennsylvania and West Virginia as well as news about a new pipeline to Canada:
In the second quarter of 2011, MarkWest Liberty commenced operations of its 200 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d) Houston III cryogenic processing plant [Houston, PA] and its 135 MMcf/d Majorsville II cryogenic processing plant [Majorsville, WV], increasing MarkWest Liberty’s total processing capacity to 625 MMcf/d.
By late 2012, MarkWest Liberty is expected to operate 945 MMcf/d of cryogenic processing capacity in the liquids-rich areas of the Marcellus Shale, which includes current processing capacity of 625 MMcf/d and new processing capacity under construction of 320 MMcf/d. The new processing capacity includes the 120 MMcf/d Mobley, West Virginia processing complex that will primarily serve liquids-rich gas transported in EQT’s Equitrans gas pipeline and a 200 MMcf/d processing complex near Sherwood, West Virginia that will serve the core of the Marcellus liquids-rich production in Doddridge and Wetzel counties. The Mobley and Sherwood processing complexes are supported by long-term agreements with high-quality producer customers. In addition, MarkWest Liberty is in discussions with its producer customers regarding additional processing expansions.
On July 21, 2011, Sunoco Logistics Partners L.P. announced a binding open season for Mariner West, a pipeline project developed jointly by Sunoco Logistics and MarkWest Liberty to deliver Marcellus Shale ethane from MarkWest Liberty’s Houston, Pennsylvania processing and fractionation complex to Sarnia, Ontario, Canada markets. Mariner West is anticipated to have an initial capacity to transport up to 50,000 barrels per day of ethane, and is scheduled to be operational by mid-2013. The open season will end August 22, 2011.*
*MarkWest Energy Press Release (Aug 8, 2011) – MarkWest Energy Partners Reports Record Quarterly Distributable Cash Flow and Increases Common Unit Distribution by 9.4 Percent