Drilling Down

NiSource Activates $60M Natural Gas Liquids Pipeline

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — NiSource Inc. reported Wednesday that it has placed into service a $60 million pipeline that transports natural gas liquids from its Hickory Bend processing plant in Springfield Township to the UEO Buckeye processing facility in Columbiana County.

NiSource, parent of Columbia Pipeline Group, said that the line was commissioned during the fourth quarter. The update was presented as part of the company’s 2014 fourth quarter and year-end earnings released this morning.

NiSource and Harvest Pipeline, a division of Hilcorp Energy Co., formed Pennant Midstream LLC three years ago to construct a 45-mile natural gas and natural gas liquids gathering and transmission system that extends from Mercer County in western Pennsylvania, through Mahoning County in Ohio and into Columbiana County.

In addition to the gathering system, Pennant announced then that it would spend $60 million to build a pipeline dedicated specifically to natural gas liquids transmission. Initial capacity is 45,000 barrels of liquids per day with the potential to expand potential up to 90,000 barrels per day.

The project, known as the Hickory Bend system, features a $150 million cryogenic processing plant in Springfield Township in Mahoning County that was commissioned during the first half of 2014. The plant separates dry gas from natural gas liquids coming from Hilcorp’s wells in the Utica shale.

Natural gas liquids are then transmitted via the newly commissioned pipeline to the UEO Buckeye cryogenic plant in Kensington, in southern Columbiana County. There, the line connects with a larger UEO pipeline that ships the wet gas about 60 miles south to a UEO fractionation plant in Harrison County, where the gas is separated into butane, propane, condensate and ethane.

In western Pennsylvania’s Marcellus shale region, the company said it’s on schedule to place the first phase of its Big Pine gathering system expansion and its Washington County gathering project in service before the end of 2015.

NiSource announced last year that it would spin off its Columbia Pipeline Group as a stand-alone company. That separation remains on track and should be completed in mid-2015, the company said.

“CPG continues to execute on a wide variety of high-value projects, many of which are aimed at delivering efficient capacity for customers transporting natural gas out of the Marcellus and Utica formations to liquid markets,” said Robert Skaggs, NiSource president and CEO.

Last year, NiSource reported net income of $542.5 million versus $493.9 million in 2013.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.