While the Keystone XL Decision Looms, a Series of New Pipelines Will Flood Ohio and Kentucky

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A wave of anxiety and outrage grips Newton County, Kentucky, as a proposed natural gas pipeline would rend a path through Ohio and Kentucky. The Bluegrass Pipeline—put forward as a joint venture by Williams Companies Inc. and Boardwalk Pipeline Partners, LP—would carry an estimated 200,000 to 400,000 barrels a day of shale gas from western Pennsylvania to Texas, where it will likely be shipped to overseas markets; construction is expected to be completed by late 2015.

“Bluegrass would include building a new NGL pipeline to a Hardinsburg, Ky., interconnect with Boardwalk’s Texas Gas Transmission LLC system and converting a portion of Texas Gas from Hardinsburg to Eunice, La. (the TGT Loop Line) to NGL service,” Christopher Smith of the Oil and Gas Journal noted.

In addition to new pipeline infrastructure, the project would necessitate construction of additional facilities throughout the South—including a facility in Louisiana. The project would also upgrade older infrastructure incapable of handling the potential influx of Marcellus Shale gas from Pennsylvania.

“As development in the region’s Marcellus and Utica shales has ramped up, producers have found themselves stuck with an underdeveloped infrastructure that can’t yet handle processing or transporting all the oil and gas extracted here,” Erich HYPERLINK “http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/business/news/venture-proposes-bluegrass-pipeline-to-the-gulf-coast-678443/”Schwartzel of Pittsburgh’s Post-Gazette wrote.


Much like Kentucky, Ohio has been swept up in the massive oil and gas boom. In addition to the Bluegrass Pipeline, Ohio will see the construction of the Hickory Bend cryogenic processing plant, a $150 million project developed by Pennant Midstream LLC–a joint venture of NiSource Midstream Services LLC and HilcorpHYPERLINK “http://www.hilcorp.com/” Energy.

An additional $150 million will go toward building a pipeline for Utica shale gas from western Pennsylvania to Mahoning County in eastern Ohio. The project could exceed $1 billion in the future, according to the BusinessHYPERLINK “http://businessjournaldaily.com/drilling-down/nisource-exec-300m-gas-project-could-grow-1b-2013-5-1″ Journal Daily.

The feverish rush by oil and gas companies to exploit the apparently lacking infrastructure that begs for new pipelines offers an easy opportunity for companies to get in the game. Despite efforts by the aforementioned ventures to address concerns of environmental damage—Pennant Midstream LLC paved two roads in Mahoning County and claims it will use electric rather than diesel fuel– many questions remain as to what long-term effects, including leakage and explosions, both pipelines could have in Ohio and Kentucky.