Marathon Petroleum $140M Cornerstone Pipeline

Marathon Petroleum Corp. plans to spend an estimated $140 million on a new pipeline that will connect its refinery in Canton to an oil and natural gas processing facility in the Utica shale play.

The 48-mile Cornerstone Pipeline, expected to be completed in 2016, will connect the refinery with a processing plant in Cadiz operated by MarkWest Energy Partners LP.

The line will be capable of moving crude oil, condensate and natural gas to the Canton refinery, Marathon Petroleum spokesman Sid Barth told me in an e-mail. Condensate is an ultra-light crude oil used in the refining of gasoline and other petroleum products.

Barth said Findlay-based Marathon (NYSE:MPC) now is using trucks to transport oil and condensate to the Canton refinery. That facility, as well as a Marathon refinery in Catlettsburg, Ky., will install condensate splitters – units that break condensate into components used to make different products – to process the increased production expected from the shale play in eastern Ohio.

“(Marathon) believes the investment in Cornerstone Pipeline is a valuable and efficient new part of infrastructure for processing increasing Utica shale production,” Barth said.

The Marathon project adds to the growing list of pipelines and processing plants in the Utica that I’ve reported on in recent months. They are seen as critical to short- and long-term development of a play that oil and gas supporters say is reviving the economy of eastern Ohio.

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