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Major natural gas pipelines are being expanded throughout the Appalachian region where the Marcellus shale formation is found. Two of the larger ones are the Millennium Pipeline in New York State and the Tennessee Pipeline that cuts through Pennsylvania. There are many smaller gathering pipeline systems operated by individual natural gas exploration and production companies.



In general, the unavailability of pipeline capacity has been a restraining influence upon Marcellus shale development throughout the Marcellus shale region. In Pennsylvania, drilling has so far concentrated on southwestern and northeastern parts of the Commonwealth where interstate pipelines already traverse. The lack of pipeline constitutes a kind of "chicken and egg" problem in the sense that an area cannot be developed without sufficient capacity to transport natural gas produced to market. As midstream companies develop more confidence in an area's reserves, they become more ready to commit to pipeline projects that can provide the necessary sales outlet for profitable development.

Due to the regulatory hurdles involved in building new pipeline, those companies with some already existing pipeline capacity are at a distinct competitive advantage. For example, EQT Corporation and NiSource are two companies that already have pipelines in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. EQT's makes five interstate pipeline connections. In order to take advantage of existing capacity, according to a July, 2009 report, EQT was in the process of rerouting its western flowing pipelines in order to transport Marcellus shale gas in the opposite direction towards east coast markets.

West Virginia

West Virginia has an extensive, if aging, natural gas pipeline infrastructure. Reportedly, there is roughly 7,000 Mmcf/d of capacity to move gas into and out of the state with several pipeline expansion projects underway during 2009 and 2010. Some say the state has more pipeline than roadway. However, most of its lines date back to earlier expansions of natural gas drilling that have taken place over the past century in formations more shallow than the Marcellus shale. Columbia, Dominion, and Equitrans are West Virginia's largest operators. Midstream companies each offer their own unique mix of natgas transmission, storage, processing and gathering capabilities.

West Virginia Midstream Projects

As of September, 2010, several pipeline projects were either recently completed or else underway, including:

  • Triad Hunter LLC's Eureka Hunter gathering pipeline in Tyler County which replaced an existing 6 inch low pressure line with a 20 inch high pressure one.
  • Columbia's Appalachian Expansion Project in Lincoln Co. added two new compressor units and replaced a pipeline in 2009.
  • Columbia has also been working with MarkWest Energy on several compressor projects and gathering lines in Wetzel, Marshall and Kanawha counties. The Marshall Co. one had gone online in September, 2010.
  • Caiman Energy LLC was in the process of adding gathering lines in northern West Virginia and processing capacity in Fort Beeler, Marshall Co. It was scheduled to go online in November, 2010.
  • Equitrans was in the process of building its Sunrise Pipeline Project scheduled to go in service in 2012.
  • Dominion's Gathering Enhancement Project, a $253 million project to replace 25 miles of pipeline, build 9 compressor stations, new processing plants in Pleasants and Lewis counties, and an extension of the Hastings Extraction Plant for separating out natural gas liquids.
  • Dominion's Appalachian Gateway Project.


Natural Gas Lease Forum For Landowners, Natural Gas Wells Mapper [[1]]

The National Pipeline Mapping System (NPMS), NPMS Public Map Viewer [[2]]

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