Williams (NYSE: WMB) and Boardwalk Pipeline Partners, LP (NYSE: BWP) today announced that they have executed a letter of intent to form a joint venture that would develop a pipeline project to transport natural gas liquids from the infrastructure-constrained Marcellus and Utica shale plays to the rapidly expanding petrochemical and export complex on the U.S. Gulf Coast, as well as the developing petrochemical market in the Northeast U.S.
The proposed “Bluegrass Pipeline” design would provide producers with 200,000 barrels per day of mixed NGLs take-away capacity in Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. The proposed pipeline could be increased to 400,000 barrels per day to meet market demand, primarily by adding additional liquids pumping capacity. It 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.
As proposed, the Bluegrass Pipeline would include the following:
- Constructing a new NGL pipeline from producing areas in West Virginia and Ohio to an interconnect with Boardwalk’s Texas Gas Transmission, LLC system (Texas Gas) in Hardinsburg, Ky.;
- Converting a portion of Texas Gas from Hardinsburg, Ky. to Eunice, La. (the “TGT Loop Line”) from natural gas service to NGL service, including construction of new pump stations and related facilities; and
- Constructing a new large-scale fractionation plant and expanding natural gas liquids storage facilities in Louisiana and a new pipeline connecting these facilities to the converted TGT Loop Line.
By combining new construction with an existing pipeline, Williams and Boardwalk believe that the Bluegrass Pipeline can be placed into service and begin serving customers sooner than other options. Williams and Boardwalk are engaged in comprehensive project development planning including project design, cost estimating, economic and risk analysis, customer contracting, permitting and other legal and regulatory approvals and right-of-way acquisition. Williams and Boardwalk expect to sanction the project this year and place the planned project into service in the second half of 2015 assuming all necessary conditions are met.