Trades Look for Work Building Processing Plants
NEW MIDDLETOWN, Ohio – Members of the building trades unions think they have a strong shot at landing contracts for the new cryogenic plant slated for Springfield Township, a project that would allow them to get a piece of the $300 million project.
"The pipeline project is looking very good at this point," states Don Crane, president of the Western Reserve Building and Construction Trades Council. "In the negotiations. … [the] building trades contractors are looking at the project and feel very comfortable on where it's headed."
NiSource Midstream and Houston-based Hilcorp Energy Co. have formed a partnership to construct the Hickory Bend project, a network of wells, pipelines and processors that extend from western Pennsylvania and south through Mahoning County.
The partnership created Pennant Midstream LLC to manage and operate the pipeline and cryogenic plant. NiSource and Hilcorp announced in July they would form the partnership and in September, The Business Journal reported that NiSource would locate the cryogenic plant in eastern Mahoning County.
In mid-November, The Business Journal reported that the likely path for pipeline and processor was the corridor between State Line and Rapp roads in Springfield Township.
Springfield Township Trustee Robert Orr yesterday said that the processor would be located near the intersection of State Line and Middletown roads.
At least one building trades contractor has landed a job associated with the cryogenic project, according to Crane.
But that isn't the case with the Kensington project in Hanover Township in Columbiana County, the union leader stated. The Kensington cryogenic plant is part of a $900 million investment involving Access Midstream, M3 Midstream and EV Energy Partners to collect, transport and process liquids-rich gas drawn from wells operated by Chesapeake Energy Corp. in the Utica shale.
"We had contractors from the Mahoning Valley on the first part of that project, but it has since gone to out-of-town and out-of-state workers," Crane said.
It's often difficult for local contractors to land these pipeline and processing jobs, he noted, because many of these companies have developed long-standing relationships with contractors that they’ve worked with for years.
“It's breaking that barrier down to get our contractors a shot at it,” he said, noting that it would cost an energy company just as much – possibly more – when they consider employee expenses.
Springfield Township's Orr said it appears there will be two pipelines going into the cryogenic plant from the north and south, and one line from the plant that will transport dry gas into the Tennessee Gas pipeline system.
Cryogenic plants are used to chill natural gas to about 150 degrees below zero, a process that separates the components in dry gas such as methane, from "wet" gas such as ethane and butane.
While the dry gas will be pumped into the Tennessee line, the wet gas will be hauled, at least for now, by truck.
"We've met with Mahoning County Engineers [office], NiSource, and we’ve developed a road use maintenance agreement and a prescribed route to keep the trucks on," Orr said.
NiSource spokeswoman Chevalier Mayes would not confirm the location of the cryogenic plant and say only that it would be located in Mahoning County. The components, she noted, are pre-fabricated and ready to be installed.
The project is expected to come online by the end of this year, Mayes said.
While Orr said most of the residents of the township support the project, others in the region have questions.
"NiSource is the company coming through here and they have a horrible track record as far as maintenance on these pipelines," said Patti Gorcheff, who attended a meeting of the Board of the Mahoning County Commissioners at the Springfield Township administration building Monday.
"I don't think that people understood that once they put the pipeline in, that they were going to build a cryogenic plant," she said. "We all need to ask questions and I'd like to get answers."
Gorcheff said she is having difficulties obtaining information as to where the plant is going to be built and exactly where the pipelines will run.
During the meeting, Orr said there is little township trustees or local government officials can do because the pipeline rights-of-way and other lease arrangements are between the landowner and the company.
"This is going to be in our neighborhoods," Gorcheff emphasized. "We want to know what this plant is and we have the right to know."
Copyright 2013 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.
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