On December 29, a new pipeline began carrying natural gas liquids all the way from Ohio to the coast in Delaware County, Pennsylvania. This new pipeline, called Mariner East 2, has been controversial, but now that it is done, it will open new markets for natural gas from the region.
The Marcellus and Utica natural gas shale formations that run underneath Appalachia are rich in natural gas liquids. The natural gas used in everyday applications like residential stovetops is mostly “dry” methane. Methane is typically captured, transported, and used in its gaseous form. Natural gas can also contain liquids, like ethane, propane, and butane. These gasses can be stored as liquids at a fairly low pressure. The fluid in cigarette lighters is usually liquid butane, for example. Ethane is a prized feedstock for manufacturing things like plastic and fertilizer.
These natural gas liquids are a huge advantage for Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. Natural gas liquids production in the region is expected to increase more than 700% above 2013 levels by 2023. These liquids can be especially valuable, but only if you can find a market for them. If ethane cannot get to a petrochemical plant or other customer that specifically needs ethane, then it will often be left in with the rest of the gas stream and burned along with the less-valuable methane.
The Mariner East 2 project will help ensure that natural gas liquids from our region go to their best use. It will collect natural gas liquids along its 350-mile route from Ohio, through West Virginia and Pennsylvania, and then deliver it to the Marcus Hook Industrial Complex. From there, the liquids can be distributed to local, domestic and overseas markets. Another parallel line, called Mariner East 2X, is expected to begin service in late 2019.
If you would like to be producing natural gas liquids in the region, you can call some of the best landmen at Cimmaron Land right here in Bridgeville, Pennsylvania. Call us at (412) 212-7517.