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Pipeline to connect Marcellus and Utica shale plays with US Gulf Coast

Two U.S. energy companies have announced plans to develop a pipeline project that will transport natural gas liquids from the Marcellus and Utica shale plays to the rapidly expanding petrochemical and export complex on the U.S. Gulf Coast.

The companies, energy infrastructure firm Williams and midstream master limited partnership Boardwalk Pipeline Partners, say the pipeline would provide producers with 200,000 barrels per day of mixed NGLs take-away capacity in Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania.

The "Bluegrass Pipeline" could be increased to 400,000 barrels per day to meet market demand, primarily by adding additional liquids pumping capacity, according to Williams and Boardwalk.

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The pipeline would deliver mixed NGLs from these producing areas to proposed new fractionation and storage facilities, which would have connectivity to petrochemical facilities and product pipelines along the coasts of Louisiana and Texas. Williams and Boardwalk are also exploring development of a new export liquefied petroleum gas terminal and related facilities on the Gulf Coast to provide customers access to international markets.

“We are designing Bluegrass Pipeline to provide these two world-class resource plays with access to one of the largest and most dynamic petrochemical markets in the world. In turn, this will help producers in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia achieve an attractive value for their ethane and other liquids,” said Alan Armstrong, president and CEO of Williams. “The current infrastructure challenge with natural gas liquids in the Northeast is slowing drilling and isolating liquids supplies from the robust markets in the Gulf that are poised to grow substantially over the next five years.”

The companies said they expect to sanction the project this year and place the project into service in the second half of 2015.

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