Caiman Energy plans to bring its total investment in natural gas processing (“midstream”) facilities in Marshall County, WV to $1.3 billion by the end of 2014. At midstream processing plants like the ones operated by Caiman, raw natural gas is processed to separate out methane from other components like ethane, propane, butane and pentane, or “natural gas liquids.” The liquids are sent to another facility for fractionation, to separate them from one another. Ethane then goes to a cracker plant where it is “cracked” or transformed into ethylene, used for making plastics.
Caiman is expanding its current processing facilities and building a new fractionation facility in Marshall County and spending nearly as much on their projects ($1.3 billion) as the much anticipated cracker plant that will be built by Shell somewhere in the Marcellus Shale region ($1.5-$2.0 billion).
The Fort Beeler cryogenic plant, near Cameron along U.S. 250 in Marshall County, now processes about 120 million cubic feet of gas per day. Some of this gas flows to the site by a pipeline from Trans Energy’s nearby drilling sites, with more gas flowing to the site from Gastar Exploration and other drilling operations.
By March 1, an additional 200 million cubic feet per day of processing capacity is expected to be online at Fort Beeler. The facility should be able to process 200 million more cubic feet each day by Aug. 1, bringing the total capacity to 520 million cubic feet per day.
According to Caiman spokeswoman Casey Nikoloric, the company is building another processing plant about 5 miles west of the Fort Beeler facility that will be known as the "Fort Wetzel" cryogenic plant. This plant should be able to process 200 million cubic feet of gas daily by April 1, 2013, with an additional 200 million cubic feet set for processing each day by Oct. 1, 2013. This will bring Caiman’s total processing capabilities in Marshall County to 920 million cubic feet per day by the end of next year.
At the Caiman fractionation facility – under construction on the former Olin Chemical site along the Ohio River, south of Moundsville – the company will be able to separate 12,500 barrels daily by April 1, with total fractionation capacity at the site expected to reach 42,500 barrels daily by Oct. 1.*
*The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register (Jan 20, 2012) – Caiman Energy Expanding Presence in Marshall County