A new natural gas processing plant serving the Powder River Basin has been inaugurated by Meritage Midstream Services.

The plant, named 50 Buttes, is located in Campbell County, Wyoming, and will serve natural gas producers throughout the Powder River Basin, an area that stretches from northeast Wyoming to southeast Montana.

Initially, the 50 Buttes plant has a processing capacity of 70 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d) but Meritage is planning to double that by late 2015. At full capacity, the plant could accommodate up to 300 MMcf/d.

Meritage Midstream said that the facility is supported by long-term acreage dedications by some of the biggest producers in the region.

The Powder River Basin is "one of the country's most exciting emerging shale plays," according to Steve Huckaby, Meritage Midstream's chairman and CEO.

"It is always our goal to stay ahead of our producer customers so that gathering, processing and transportation infrastructure is in place when and where they need it. The Powder River Basin is home to several stacked oil- and liquids-rich formations, and we have seen a significant increase in drilling activity in the area. We are fortunate to be in a great position to execute an aggressive expansion plan to meet the increased midstream needs of our customers."

The 50 Buttes plant is part of Meritage Midstream's Thunder Creek system, acquired by the company in August 2013, which includes more than 700 miles of high- and low-pressure natural gas pipelines, compression facilities, NGL and liquids handling facilities, and natural gas treating and processing facilities.

Meritage Midstream is working hard to expand the system. Before the end of this year it will complete another 100 miles of gathering pipeline and will have more than 110 wells connected to the Thunder Creek system to meet the needs of producers.