Hickory Bend plant ready for business


Staff report

NEW MIDDLETOWN

Pennant Midstream’s Hickory Bend cryogenic gas- processing plant is ready for operation, which is expected to begin by the end of the first quarter of 2014.

The plant, sitting on a 90-acre site near New Middletown, will separate dry natural gas from natural-gas liquids, or NGLs. The dry natural gas will be transported for delivery to homes and businesses in the region.

The NGLs will travel through a 38-mile pipeline to a facility in Harrison County, where they will be converted to products such as butane, ethane and propane.

The facility will have the initial capacity to process up to 200 million cubic feet of natural gas a day, according to a statement by Pennant Midstream, which is jointly owned by Hilcorp affiliate Harvest Pipeline and NiSource Midtream Services.

NiSource spokesperson Sarah Barczyk said that the plant is operation-ready but awaiting gas from regional producers. Pennant is partnering with the Houston-based Hilcorp Energy Co. and is engaged in talks with other producers, she said.

Processing will begin “as soon as we get the producers’ gas,” which is expected to be by the end of the first quarter of 2014, Barczyk said.

“We are excited for this milestone,” said Chad Zamarin, chief operating officer of NiSource Midstream Services and president of Pennant Midstream.

“This achievement contributes to increased shale production in the Appalachian Basin and is not only critical to unlocking the potential of the Utica shale play in Ohio, it is furthering economic development in the Mahoning Valley,” he said.

The Hickory Bend processing plant and gathering system is part of a $375 million investment, which includes about 55 miles of 20- and 24-inch wet-gas gathering pipeline facilities.

The cryogenic plant is currently the only facility at the Mahoning County site, but NiSource said it is considering developing two more plants, an investment that could total $1 billion.

There is no definitive timetable on that decision yet, Barczyk said.

Pennant Midstream is operated by NiSource Midstream Services, LLC, which is fully owned by NiSource Inc., a Fortune 500 utility company.

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