Kinder Morgan, the nation’s largest energy infrastructure company, already has a major presence in Ohio that includes a terminal location in Cincinnati and the Tennessee Gas Pipeline system, which enters the state through Scioto County and exits from Columbiana County.
That presence will become even greater with the addition of the Utopia East Pipeline, a new system that will be about 240 miles long and will stretch from southeast Ohio to northwest Ohio. The proposed pipeline will transport an ethane-propane mix.
“When people think of energy production in the Utica Shale region, they mainly think of natural gas,” said Allen Fore, Kinder Morgan’s Vice President of Public Affairs. “The product that we will be moving through this particular pipeline is lesser known but very important and has a very practical use in the production of plastics.”
The energy sector has been a shot in the arm for Ohio’s economy and this new project will continue to bring revenue to the Buckeye State.
“This is a half billion dollar investment that will employ over 1,000 construction workers during the course of the project’s creation,” Fore said. “So, not only will this be a significant boost to Ohio’s economy and workforce, it also continues to develop markets for the products coming out of the Utica Shale.”
With such a project comes the enormous task of finding a path that is agreeable by multiple parties along the way that is also as minimally invasive as possible, for not only the residents affected, but for the land as well.
“We have a good history in the state of working with groups like the Ohio Farm Bureau in developing our projects,” Fore said. “The agreements we have with landowners take into account the importance of agricultural lands in the state and the importance of the ag industry as a whole.”
That work with the Ohio Farm Bureau includes devising an Agriculture Impact Mitigation Agreement, which helps to provide guidance and direction on how Kinder Morgan constructs their pipelines on agricultural lands. Issues addressed include depth of cover, soil compaction, crop loss and how the process will impact drainage tile.
“The reason that we have had over 95% of the folks we’ve approached about the Utopia East Pipeline grant us survey permission is because we take the time to meet individually with each landowner,” Fore said. “We want to be sure they understand what the purpose of this project is, what our construction plans are and then take into account the uniqueness of their individual property as we further refine the project.”
For the past several months, Kinder Morgan has been working with landowners, regulatory agencies, counties, townships and other stakeholders and those meetings continue. The company plans to file for their permits and have them reviewed within 2016, begin construction in 2017 and begin service in 2018.