CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A company is planning a $1.75 billion project that includes laying 160 miles of natural gas pipeline in West Virginia and Ohio.
Columbia Pipeline Group announced the investment in a news release Tuesday. The proposal would help transport up to 1.5 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas.
Columbia expects to start construction in fall 2016 before putting the pipeline in service in the second half of 2017.
Columbia said the project will support natural gas development in western Pennsylvania, northern West Virginia and eastern Ohio by linking to Marcellus and Utica shale deposits.
The new pipeline would ship more gas to the company's interchange in Leach, Kentucky, where it would head to other markets. It will cut through Marshall County in West Virginia and head west to southern Fairfield County, Ohio.
"These newly announced investments reaffirm our commitment to this important region and will increase the capacity and flexibility of the Columbia Transmission and Columbia Gulf systems to further enhance transportation options for producers in Appalachia," Columbia Chief Executive Officer Glen Kettering said in the release.
The initiative includes long-term service agreements with Range Resources-Appalachia, Noble Energy, Kaiser Marketing Appalachian and American Energy Utica.
West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's administration said the pipeline would boost the economy. Columbia did not spell out job creation projections.
"Today's announcement by Columbia Pipeline Group will provide construction jobs and help companies develop additional markets for their natural gas while keeping a significant portion in the region," said Chris Stadelman, Tomblin spokesman.
A second component will allow for more Appalachian shipments through a corridor stretching to the Gulf Coast by primarily adding compression for existing pipelines. Columbia expects the improvements to move more than 1 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and environmental agencies will undergo reviews of the project, said Columbia spokeswoman Katie Dupuis Martin.
Columbia Pipeline Group is run by Merrillville, Indiana-based NiSource Inc. Columbia's companies have about 15,000 miles of interstate natural gas pipeline and 37 storage fields. The company delivers more than 1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas annually.