Monroe continues oil and gas development

WOODSFIELD – The oil and gas industry in Monroe County continues to develop, with Mountaineer NGL Storage LLC, based in Denver, still on track to develop and build a natural gas liquids storage facility in salt caverns just north of Clarington.

According to county economic development officials, the company is asking for help from the Board of Commissioners and JobsOhio to help speed up regulatory approval.

According to the company, in its first phase of operation projected to begin in early 2018, the facility will be able to store up to 2 million barrels of natural gas liquids, with more than 40,000 barrels per day of load-in and load-out capacity. The facility plans to expand its storage capacity in a later second phase.

In a company statement at the outset of the project in May 2016, Mountaineer NGL Managing Director David Hooker said, “We’re pleased to see that the support of this project in the heart of the Marcellus and Utica wet shale gas shale play is as strong as it is. The Mountaineer NGL Storage Project is strategically placed to provide service to the expanding network of pipelines, rail, truck and barge infrastructure that is currently being built to transport Marcellus and Utica NGLs throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic.”

Natural gas liquids, including ethane, would be stored at the facility. Storage capacity for both natural gas and NGLs is a critical part of natural gas infrastructure and will be needed to provide support for a new petro-chemical industry in the area.

Monroe County Economic Development Representative Jason Hamman told commissioners on Monday that Mountaineer NGL is still in the permit process with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. Hamman said Mountaineer NGL has requested a “letter of support” from the commissioners to help move the process along. He had drafted a letter that commissioners signed on Monday.

“They are just trying to get everything over the hump in terms of their regulatory approvals for the salt cavern storage facility,” Hamman said. “One of the things I think is making the process a little bit longer is that Ohio has never really had any of these facilities before, so organizations like the OEPA and ODNR have to come up with new rules and regulations.”

The letter of support is addressed to John Minor, CEO of JobsOhio. JobsOhio is a “private, nonprofit corporation designed to drive job creation and new capital investment in Ohio through business attraction, retention, and expansion efforts.”

“We just want to say (to Minor) thanks for your help along the way, and we would like you to continue to work on our behalf with other organizations that have to provide us regulatory approvals to move forward,” Hamman said.

In other county business, the commissioners decided how they want to spend $50,000 in grant money from the Ohio History Connection through “mitigation” funding from Rover Pipeline LLC.

Because of the pipeline’s potential to impact historic properties, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and Rover have consulted with Ohio’s State Historic Preservation office. SHPO “provides comments on infrastructure improvement projects which may affect historic and archaeological properties in Ohio,” according to the Ohio History Connection. “During this process, a historic property (in Carroll County) was unexpectedly demolished by Rover Pipeline, resulting in an adjustment to originally proposed mitigation.” Rover was ordered to establish a Community Historic Preservation Fund as mitigation in the amount of $1 million to be used across the 18 counties that the Rover Pipeline crosses.

Of the $50,000 in grant money, the commissioners decided to designate $25,000 for preservation and restoration work in the county courthouse, $20,000 for a new HVAC system in the Perry Museum in Woodsfield, and $5,000 for a “feasibility study” for restoration of the Monroe Theatre.