MarkWest announces additional plants

WEST UNION – With two additional cryogenic natural gas plants already under construction in Doddridge County and one in Wetzel County, MarkWest Energy Partners announced this week that more are on the way.

The Denver-based company plans to have one more plant at each site online by the second quarter of 2015. That will bring the number at the Sherwood Complex in Doddridge County to six and at Wetzel’s Mobley Complex to five.

Kevin Hawkins, manager of investor relations for MarkWest, said the processing capacity at Sherwood is 600 million cubic feet of natural gas a day.

“In the second quarter of next year, we’re going to double that to 1.2 billion,” he said.

The plants cool natural gas to extremely low temperatures in order to extract liquids like ethane, propane and butane, which are piped to a MarkWest fractionation facility in Pennsylvania. All six plants in Doddridge County are dedicated to processing gas extracted by Colorado-based Antero Resources.

“They’ve had a significant amount of growth in their rich-gas production,” Hawkins said.

Doddridge County Commission President Ralph Sandora called the continued growth “wonderful news.”

“That’s a boost to the economy of Doddridge County,” he said.

Hawkins said it is not clear yet how many jobs the additional plants will create.

While Antero has agreed to be the anchor supplier for a proposed ethane cracker plant in Wood County, Hawkins said whether or not the cracker is built will have little impact on operations or continued growth at the Sherwood Complex.

Ethane extracted at the complex could go to the cracker, and MarkWest supports construction of the cracker, Hawkins said. However, Antero is “drilling a lot of gas and that gas needs to be processed whether there’s a cracker plant or not,” he said.

The Mobley Complex, with a processing capacity of 520 million cubic feet a day, serves clients including EQT Corp., Stone Energy and Magnum Hunter Resources. The two new plants will increase the capacity to 920 million cubic feet.