The company anticipates that the Utica Shale formation in Ohio will be home to more than 1,800 wells by the end of 2015, and the new facility will at first be able to process 200 million cubic feet of natural gas per day. This capacity, however, will eventually expand to process up to 600 million cubic feet per day.
The Berne plant will join another plant in the Blue Racer network, the Natrium complex, located along the Ohio River. The network consists of approximately 600 miles of pipelines spanning across 24 counties in West Virginia and Ohio and reaches as far north as Cleveland. When the processing capabilities are combined, the network will be able to process about 1 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day.
The AP reports that Blue Racer CEO Jack Lafield said, “Our assets are positioned exactly where our producers need them so that ultimately they achieve the best possible price realizations … Utica producers face a number of challenges, and we continue to build out a very large super-system in the Utica to assist them. Blue Racer’s integrated super-system of midstream assets is the largest system in the Utica.”
The Blue Racer system includes pipelines that transport both natural gas and natural gas liquids. The Natrium and Berne facilities will utilize cryogenic processing that removes dry methane gas from natural gas liquids. The liquids separated from the gas flow coming into the Berne facility will then be transmitted east to the Natrium facility where particular forms of natural gas liquids are turned into useable products. By using this process (known as fractionation) at the Natrium facility, Blue Racer has the capability to produce 46,000 barrels per day. By March, the company anticipates this capacity will have reached 126,000 barrels per day.