Springfield plant draws gas, oil from northern Columbiana County

SALEM – Construction of a $150 million natural gas plant in southeast Mahoning County will draw gas and oil from new pipelines crossing three Columbiana County townships when it is completed.

The cryo plant and pipelines, part of a $300 million total investment, will process oil and gas products from surrounding wells. Construction on State Line Road in Springfield Township begins next month, according to Chad Zamarin, the chief operating officer of midstream services for Columbia Pipeline Group (CPG).

The plant and gathering pipelines are part of the Hickory Bend project, the centerpiece topic in a forum hosted by CPG for about 30 county and community leaders at the Salem Golf Club on Monday.

Phase I of the Hickory Bend project will run approximately 55 miles of wet gas gathering pipeline through eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania with capacity of more than 600 million cubic feet of gas (Mcf) per day, as well as the processing complex with initial capacity of 200 Mcf per day.

The plant is between the upper and lower portion of the Hickory Bend project.

Zamarin oversees the midstream growth strategy and operations across the company’s footprint.

CPG is partnering with Hilcorp Energy and said the cryo plant represents a $150 million investment while the pipeline cost is $75 million on the Ohio side.

Hickory Bend is aimed at optimizing the footprint along the well-path of Hilcorp’s production, he said, adding that while they are in the permit phase, work has already begun to check locations for sensitive species and clear trees.

“We want to minimize the impact with landowners and environmentally. It’s not always the cheapest … to stay out of sensitive areas …” Zamarin said.

The Springfield Township plant will be fed by raw oil and gas-well products from surrounding wells, cleaned and processed for commercial distribution in 20- to 24-inch high-pressure pipeline.

The plant is similar to the M3 Midstream plant in Kensington which is part of a $1-billion partnership between Access Midstream Partners, EV Energy Partners and M3 and will be one of several processing plants in eastern Ohio.

The Hickory Bend pipeline will have built-in surplus capacity to include additional producers who will want to hook up to it, Zamarin said.

He declined providing detailed pipeline routes.

“We’re still in the process of acquiring land,” he said, noting the general route, 25 miles in Ohio, will travel in a southwesterly direction from Springfield, Unity and Fairfield townships and wind up in Salem Township at the Brinker property which would be in the 39000 block of state Route 558; the 34000 block of Salem-Grange Road; or the 330 block of Grafton Road.

With 200 news jobs which are being sourced through local unions and trades, the project is ramping up now, Zamarin said.

“We source as much locally as we can,” he said adding there “is a tremendous talent and trade” base in the area.

“Folks will see material, supplies and pipe moving … with heavy equipment handlers and operators and fitters.”

The pipe is being sourced from American steel manufacturers and the window for completion of the cryo plant is year-end and the pipeline in about 12 months.

Ohio is enjoying center stage for most exploration and development of the Utica Shale and Carroll, Harrison and Columbiana counties are leading in drilling permits.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources reports weekly drilling permit and well activity for the Utica Shale.

Larry Shields can be reached at lshields@salemnews.net