MarkWest announces continued build-out of ethane delivery system

Posted September 10, 2011

DENVER - MarkWest Liberty Midstream & Resources announced what it said were three milestones in the ongoing development of the hydrocarbon-rich area of the Marcellus Shale.

The company said in a news release the first milestone was the announcement Wednesday by Sunoco Logistics of the execution of definitive transportation agreements for Mariner West, a pipeline project jointly developed by Sunoco and MarkWest Liberty that will deliver Marcellus ethane to petrochemical markets in Sarnia, Ontario.

The companies said Mariner West will support the long-term development of more than 1.5 billion cubic feet per day of liquids-rich Marcellus gas in southwest Pennsylvania and northern West Virginia.

The company said a second milestone was the commencement last week of the next phase of MarkWest Liberty's Houston fractionation facility in Chartiers Township. The 60,000 barrels per day Houston plant is the largest natural gas liquids fractionation, storage and marketing complex in the northeast United States and produces high-purity propane, butane and natural gasoline for sale into the Northeast markets.


MarkWest Liberty also announced Wednesday the development of up to three large de-ethanizers at its Houston and Majorsville, W.Va., processing complexes. When combined, the new de-ethanization facilities could produce in excess of 115,000 Bbl per day of ethane.

The first phase of de-ethanization will have capacity of approximately 75,000 Bbl per day and will commence operation in mid-2013 to coincide with the start-up of Mariner West.

Since 2008, MarkWest Liberty has invested nearly $1 billion to develop critical midstream infrastructure to support key producers operating in the liquids-rich areas of the Marcellus. It currently operates more than 200 miles of natural gas gathering infrastructure and 625 million cubic feet per day of cryogenic processing capacity.

The company said its processing capacity will increase to nearly 1 billion cubic feet per day in mid-2012, and it is in active discussions with producers to increase the processing capacity to nearly 2 Bcf per day in early 2014. Natural gas liquids recovered at MarkWest Liberty's processing complexes in southwest Pennsylvania and northern West Virginia will be transported via pipeline to the Houston complex for fractionation, storage, and marketing.