Shale money is flowing

July 27, 2012
By DAN POMPILI , Shale Play

An official with the Regional Chamber says recent news of shale-related investments should give Valley residents confidence in the industry.

"We have a significant amount of investment activity moving in very quickly," said Eric Planey, vice president for international and national business attraction for the Regional Chamber. "And I think that's proof that what is under our feet is what has been promised, and I think a lot of companies are moving in and capitalizing on that."

Dallas-based Caiman Energy announced this week that it is investing $800 million to develop sections of the Utica Shale that contain oil and heavier liquids like propane and butane.

A midstream energy company, Camain provides infrastructure and other services to get natural gas products from the wells to the marketplace.

Meanwhile, NiSource Gas Transmission and Storage's Midstream and Minerals Group, LLC announced a $300 million investment with Houston-based Hilcorp Energy Co. to develop oil and gas in the Utica/Point Pleasant Shale formation. That team also plans to construct new pipelines and natural-gas liquids processing facilities to support production in the region. NiSource is based in Merrillville, Ind.

NiSource spokesman Mike Banas said the company will contribute its acreage to HilCorp's acreage, with both sharing in the benefits, but did not disclose how much acreage NiSource is contributing. He said the company has between 100,000 and 200,000 acres in Ohio and the joint venture acreage is a subset of that amount.

The newly named joint venture, Pennant Midstream LLC, will invest in the construction of 50 miles of 20-inch gathering pipeline facilities in northeast Ohio and western Pennsylvania. Pennant also plans to invest in the construction and installation of a cryogenic liquid natural gas processing plant in Ohio with initial capacity of 200 million cubic feet per day.

NiSource Midstream Services LLC will operate the system, which is expected to initially provide approximately 400 mcf per day of both wet and dry gas gathering. Hilcorp and NiSource will anchor the project with a long-term gathering and processing agreement and market additional capacity to other active producers in the area.

In addition, Banas said NiSource will make a half-billion-dollar investment statewide over the next 15 years.

NiSource estimates it will replace 459 miles of bare steel and cast iron pipe in Ohio, resulting in the creation of more than 1,000 direct jobs and up to five times as many indirect jobs.

Banas said he expects to have the pipeline in place by September 2013.

Earlier this year, Houston-based BP-US bought 84,000 acres of Trumbull County land for Utica Shale development in a deal that may put as much as $331 million into the local economy.

Between BP, Caiman and NiSource, nearly $1.5 billion in shale-related investments have been made in northeast Ohio in 2012.

Regarding the midstream investments, Planey said they are critical to expanding the industry.

"Getting the pipelines in is critical to getting things up and running and moving ahead with this industry," he said.

Planey also said he expects the investments to yield an uptick in the housing and construction markets in the near future.



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