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Gas plant site likely nearer Kensington

March 18, 2012

The shale natural gas collection and processing complex to be built in Columbiana County appears to be located closer to the tiny crossroads community of Kensington than Hanoverton, according to an online map posted by one of the companies involved in the project.

The map posted on the website by M3 Midstream LLC refers to the facility as the "Kensington Plant" and shows it is located on the border with Carroll County. Stories published earlier in the week by this newspaper reported the complex would be built in the Hanoverton area, which could include Kensington since it is about two miles away.

Both communities are located in Hanover Township, and there had been some speculation the complex might be constructed over the border in nearby Franklin Township. Hanover Township Trustee Don "Ferg" Wilson believes the complex will be located in their township based on recent inquiries trustees have received from a company about whether they have a building code and related regulations.

"It's definitely going to be in Hanover Township," Wilson said, although he pointed out this is an educated guess and not based on anything he has been told.

George Francisco is M3 Midstream's executive vice president for finance and corporate development. He said they are in the process of negotiating to purchase the 160 to 170 acres for the complex and applying for the necessary state and federal permits.

"I think it'll be in the next month or so. It's going to happen quickly," he said of closing on the land acquisition.

"We're excited to be doing business in Ohio. Historically, we have always been good neighbors ... We're going to do things the right way," Francisco said.

M3 Midstream, also known as Momentum, is a 33 percent partner in the $900 million joint venture announced last week by Chesapeake Energy, which is the majority investor with a 59 percent interest. The third partner is EV Energy Partners.

The complex will serve as a collection and compression site for natural gas extracted by drillers in the region, with an initial capacity of 600 million cubic feet per day. It includes a cryogenic processing plant that extracts natural gas liquids (NGL) from the shale gas, such as propane, butane and ethane. The NGLs will be piped from the Kensington complex across Carroll County to a shale gas storage and transfer hub being constructed in Harrison County as part of the project.

Francisco clarified that the $900 million estimated cost includes construction of both the Kensington and Harrison County complexes, as well as the pipeline connecting the two facilities. Prior reports indicated the $900 million cost was associated only with the Kensington complex.

The projects are expected to get underway quickly and be rolled out over the next five years, although the intial phases of both complexes are scheduled to become operational by the second quarter of 2013. The plants are to employ between 100 to 200 permanent workers each, with the construction phase creating up 1,000 to 2,000 jobs.



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