A $500 million natural gas processing plant is currently being built by Dominion Transmission along the Ohio River in Marshall County, WV. When it’s done, it will have a 400 million cubic feet per day capacity. Chesapeake Energy has committed to processing 100 million cubic feet per day at the facility. The new plant means jobs and an economic boost for West Virginia’s northern panhandle.
Dominion officials plan to be able to process 200 million cubic feet of natural gas per day upon completing the project’s first phase, with the capacity expected to double to 400 million cubic feet per day once the company receives further supply commitments. An air emissions permit currently pending before the state Department of Environmental Protection covers the entire 400 million cubic feet per day proposal.
Once the "wet" Marcellus and Utica shale gas travels to the Dominion plant via the company’s existing pipeline network, the ethane, butane, propane and other natural gas liquids will be separated from the methane gas so that all the products can be individually marketed. Orndorff expects the initial phase to be up and running by December 2012.
Once construction is complete, officials believe 45-50 full-time, permanent employees will work to operate and maintain the facility.*
Dominion’s processing plant should not be confused with a cracker plant, that “cracks” ethane into ethylene, a raw material used to make plastics. Dominion’s processing plant will separate out ethane and other components of raw natural gas, but it will not crack the ethane. A plant to crack ethane is reportedly on the way somewhere in the Marcellus region from Shell and another unnamed company. Cracker plants take upward of a $2 billion investment to build.
*The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register (Dec 17, 2011) – Gas Processing Plant Grows