Originally the Utica was thought to be a natural gas play. Then it was going to be an oil play. Now it's mixed and while that may be good in the long run it necessitates much unplanned infrastructure. Natural gas coming from the Marcellus has tended to be 97% pure methane meaning that it is pipeline quality that needs no further processing between well head and the consumer's furnace. The Utica has produced oil, natural gas, and natural gas condensates. The oil and gas are separated at the well and the oil can be trucked to Canton or to Catlettsburg, Kentucky but the condensates in the natural gas are more valuable and sold separately so they must be separated at a processing facility. No one plunks down $400 million to build a cryogenic facility until he has good evidence that it will have gas to process. Construction at Utica East Ohio Buckeye Midstream's Kensington plant in Columbiana County took 11 months and it didn't help that in the meantime Blue Racer Midstream’s plant in Natrium, West Virginia went off stream due to a fire. Chesapeake Energy alone forecasts production of 700 million cubic feet per day in 2014 so most likely more processing facilities such as Kensington will be needed and need soon.
So now the natural gas is processed and ready for distribution where does it go? Presently it can only replace out of state gas and be used in Ohio but two transmission lines are planned. Texas Eastern Transmission LP recently announced plans to build a 76 mile, 30 inch pipeline from the Kensington plant to connect with its distribution system. Halfway down in this BizJournal post is the best thing to happen to Ohio since maybe the Wright brothers.
The Ohio Pipeline Energy Network – or Open Project – would mark a change in how natural gas is distributed in the U.S. Typically, gas has flowed from the Gulf Coast and western North America to the eastern part of the nation. But as the Utica play in Ohio and the Marcellus play in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio continue producing natural gas, projections show Ohio and the Northeast could become net exporters of the fuel.Then there is NEXUS. Championed by Spectra Energy, the parent company of Texas Eastern, the NEXUS Gas Transmission System will move Utica gas all the way to Ontario. From Spectra's web site;
The NGT project will originate in northeastern Ohio, include approximately 250 miles of large diameter pipe, and be capable of transporting at least one billion cubic feet per day of natural gas. The new line will follow existing utility corridors to an interconnect in Michigan and utilize the existing Vector Pipeline system to reach the Ontario market. It will include interconnects with Michigan Consolidated Gas Company, Consumers Energy and, through the Vector Pipeline, the Enbridge Tecumseh Gas Storage facility and Union Gas’ Dawn Hub, both in Ontario. Additional delivery points across northern Ohio, southeastern Michigan and southwestern Ontario will be added to serve those markets.As Vice President Biden would say, this is a big (we have standards here) deal! Every BTU of energy used in Ohio will be produced in Ohio and practically every dollar spent by Ohioans to heat their homes will go to the Ohioans who produce it.