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Dominion-Caiman form midstream partnership

Published: Fri, December 21, 2012 @ 12:00 a.m.

By Burton Speakman



As Utica Shale development continues, another partnership has been formed to take care of growing midstream needs.

Dominion and Caiman Energy II LLC are forming a $1.5-billion joint venture, named Blue Racer Midstream LLC, to provide midstream services to natural-gas producers in Ohio and portions of Pennsylvania.

Midstream operations start from when the natural gas is removed from the earth until it is processed and sent to consumers.

The joint effort will offer gathering, processing, natural-gas liquids transportation and marketing.

The companies are taking advantage of the opportunity to allow the producers to tie into pipelines in eastern Ohio, said Daniel Donovan, spokesman for Dominion.

“The gathering lines will be able to be connected to pipelines that are reasonably close,” he said. “We expect with this processing we will be able to keep up with production. In other areas, production has had to wait for processing to be completed.”

Dominion’s current infrastructure in eastern Ohio includes pipelines in Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties. The natural gas and natural-gas liquids will be transported through the pipelines to the Natrium Extraction Plant and related facilities, which are under construction in Marshall County, W.Va., Donovan said. The site is along the Ohio River, south of Wheeling, W.Va.

“The Utica Shale has enormous potential to provide jobs and revenues for the local Ohio economy,” said Thomas F. Farrell II, Dominion’s chairman, president and chief executive officer in a statement. “Because the portion of the Utica Shale targeted today produces a rich gas stream, gathering and processing capacity must be developed so that the natural gas and valuable natural-gas liquids can be separated and sold.”

Caiman will provide capital to pay for expansions to the processing facility or pipelines as needed, Donovan said.

Dominion has transmissionpipeline assets along with operations for gathering, processing, fractionating (separation process) and delivering natural gas and liquids from the Utica Shale, said Jack Lafield, Caiman’s chairman and chief executive officer in a statement.

“With our experience in developing midstream businesses and our $800 million in equity commitments for the joint venture, we can quickly leverage Dominion’s assets, expertise and relationships to meet producers’ needs as they fully develop their natural-gas acreage,” he said.

Caiman Energy is a Dallas-based midstream company. Dominion operates one of the nation’s largest natural-gas storage systems with 947 billion cubic feet of storage capacity.

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