TransCanada’s Leach XPress pipeline is operational

Natural gas industry workers clean residue from a pipeline through the process known as “pigging.” This week, TransCanada placed the $1.6 billion Leach XPress pipeline into service. Photo Provided

MOUNDSVILLE — Marcellus and Utica shale natural gas is now flowing through the $1.6 billion Leach XPress, as owner TransCanada Corp. put the 36-inch diameter pipeline into service Jan. 1.

This pipeline stretches from the MarkWest Majorsville facility in Marshall County to Ceredo, W.Va., near Huntington. It can transport about 1.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day, which is enough energy to provide electricity for more than 36,000 homes.

Also, Calgary, Alberta-based TransCanada received a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission certificate for the $2 billion Mountaineer XPress, a conduit which officials plan to use for shipping 2.6 Bcf per day southward from Marshall County.

“Successful completion of Leach XPress is a prime example of TransCanada’s North American strategy of connecting prolific and growing supply basins with markets eager to access reliable, reasonably priced sources of energy,” TransCanada President and CEO Russ Girling said. “This is truly a best-in-class pipeline, and we look forward to many years of safe, reliable, and efficient operation on behalf of our customers.”

According to the pipeline map, the Leach XPress originates at the MarkWest processing plant at Majorsville.

It then travels southwest through Marshall County to the Ohio River. After passing under the river, the line passes through northern Monroe County on its path toward Lancaster, Ohio. Near Lancaster, the line turns southward to cut down the center of the Buckeye State. It finally crosses the Ohio River again near Ironton before reaching its Ceredo, W.Va. destination.

Officials said at peak construction, the Leach employed nearly 5,000 employees and contractors.

TransCanada officials said they also hope to activate the Mountaineer XPress pipeline before the end of 2018. According to the map, this project will extend southward from Marshall County, passing through Wetzel, eastern Tyler, Doddridge, Ritchie, Wirt, northern Roane, Jackson and Putnam counties on its way to Cabell County.

In addition to the Mountaineer XPress certificate, TransCanada also received FERC clearance for the Gulf XPress pipeline project. This will primarily consist of seven new compressor stations to be built along an existing TransCanada pipeline that extends through Kentucky, Tennessee and Mississippi.

“FERC’s approval of Mountaineer XPress and Gulf XPress allows us to continue delivering on our commitment to create new outlets for our customers, transporting Marcellus and Utica shale gas to key markets in the U.S. and beyond,” TransCanada Executive Vice President Stanley Chapman III said. “Our project teams are prepared to begin construction on both projects.”