Hickory Bend cryogenic plant goes on line, ready to process natural-gas liquids

NEW MIDDLETOWN – By bringing the Hickory Bend cryogenic gas processing plant on line, Chad Zamarin, chief operating officer of NiSource Midstream Services and president of Pennant Midstream, said, “We are excited to announce this milestone.”

Pennant Midstream announced that on Dec. 31 the processing plant was ready to begin operation.

Zamarin added, “As producers bring wells online and are able to flow gas to the facility, Hickory Bend will be capable of processing up to 200 million cubic feet per day.”

NiSource Midstream Services LLC, operates Pennant Midstream, which is jointly owned by Harvest Pipeline (an affiliate of Hilcorp Energy Company) and NiSource Midstream Services.

The state-of-the-art plant was dedicated in October with Gov. John Kasich present and NiSource said the plant will contribute to increased shale production in the Appalachian Basin.

“It is not only critical to unlocking the potential of the Utica shale play in Ohio, it is furthering economic development in the Mahoning Valley,” Zamarin said.

The processing plant and gathering system is a $150 million part of a $375 million investment that includes approximately 55 miles of 20- and 24-inch wet gas gathering pipeline facilities, as well as the cryogenic natural gas processing plant, which will separate dry natural gas from natural-gas liquids (NGLs).

The dry gas will be transported for delivery to homes and businesses across the region, and the NGLs will be shipped through a new liquid pipeline for conversion into products such as butane, ethane and propane, delivering additional value to the marketplace.

Much of the liquid will be transported by way of a 38-mile NGL pipeline to a fractionation facility in Harrison County.

The plant will support rich-gas production from Hilcorp Energy Company as well as additional producers in the area.

In addition to the initial processing capacity of up to 200 million cubic feet of gas per day, the core gathering pipelines will support delivery of more than 600 million cubic feet per day.

At the plant dedication, Robert C. Skaggs, Jr., president and CEO of NiSource, said there will be over 2,000 employees working on Hickory Bend across Ohio.

“We’ll be investing billions and billions in the region … this will be the fountainhead of energy in Ohio thanks to Hilcorp and the many local officials,” he said.

While there is only one processing facility currently located at the 90-acre site, Pennant Midstream is preparing the land for two additional plants to meet the growing need for midstream services in the area as the Utica shale play is developed.

Zamarin said that the company is encouraged by the development of the Utica play.

“We are making a long-term investment in midstream infrastructure in Ohio that, in the end, could equal over $1 billion.”

During construction, there are approximately 500 employees on the site every day.