As evidence the Marcellus and Utica shale boom continues to grow, MarkWest Energy is building more natural gas processing infrastructure in both Ohio and West Virginia.
Gulfport Energy is one of the companies sending gas to MarkWest, as two new Gulfport wells near Clendening Lake in Harrison County are yielding strong results.
"Our full-service midstream model and commitment to delivering exceptional customer service continues to deliver record volumes and financial performance," said Frank Semple, MarkWest chairman, president and chief executive officer.
Photo by Casey Junkins
Greg Sullivan, area manager for MarkWest Energy, examines the ice around the turbo expander at the company’s natural gas processing plant, near Cadiz between Ohio 9 and U.S. 22.
So plentiful are the methane, propane, butane, ethane and other hydrocarbons in eastern Ohio and northern West Virginia that MarkWest joins Williams Partners, Dominion Resources, Caiman Energy and M3 Midstream as processors who have so far invested more than $9 billion to turn the materials into marketable forms.
Denver-based MarkWest is investing $2.2 billion to process Utica Shale natural gas and liquids in Harrison County. In May, the company began operations at its Cadiz cryogenic processing plant, which receives most of its gas stream from Gulfport and Antero Resources. A turbocharger pumps air into an engine to increase horsepower, while the MarkWest turbo expander allows the company to process 180 million cubic feet of natural gas per day at Cadiz.
The Cadiz processing complex will soon include two de-ethanizers, which will remove ethane from the gas stream. Currently, the company has three options for its ethane: send it to Canada for cracking via the Mariner West Sunoco pipeline; send it to the Gulf Coast for cracking via the ATEX Express pipeline; or send it to the Gulf Coast for cracking over the Bluegrass Pipeline.
On the West Virginia side of the Ohio River, MarkWest expanded its Majorsville facility in eastern Marshall County, via supply agreements with Consol Energy and Noble Energy. The company is also going to expand its Mobley complex in Wetzel County to process gas for EQT Corp.
In Harrison County near the northern edge of Clendening Lake, Gulfport is now producing gas from two wells in the name of "Boy Scout."
- From the Boy Scout 2-33H well, Gulfport drew an average of 747 barrels of condensate per day, with 2.1 million cubic feet of dry natural gas per day; and
- from the Boy Scout 4-33H, the company collected an average of 519 barrels of condensate per day, along with 2 million cubic feet of dry natural gas per day.
Tim Carr, Marshall Miller Professor of Energy at West Virginia University with many years of experience in the natural gas industry, said Gulfport's "condensate" is pentane. Other natural gas liquids include propane, butane and ethane.
Gulfport also has several productive wells in Belmont County, particularly in the Barnesville area.