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Marathon to build liquids pipeline from Utica shale

AKRON, OH – Marathon Petroleum Corp. is proceeding with a new 49-mile pipeline from the Utica shale in eastern Ohio to its Stark County refinery.

The company discussed the $140 million pipeline to transport shale liquids on Wednesday in a conference call with financial analysts.

The Cornerstone Pipeline, as it is being called, will run from Harrison and Carroll counties west to the refinery on the Canton-Canton Township border.

It will connect natural gas-processing plants and liquids fractionation plants in those counties to the refinery.

The line, eight inches in diameter, could transport about 40 million barrels per day.

The project is part of an effort to boost the company’s position as the largest refiner in the Utica shale area of eastern Ohio and to gain greater access to the Utica shale play.

“We’re in the best position of any party to take advantage of this locally produced crude oil and condensate and are positioning ourselves for our future growth,” said spokesman C. Michael Palmer.

The pipeline will be developed by Ohio-based MPLX LP, a master limited partnership that is partially owned by Marathon.

The new pipeline is designed to carry crude oil, condensate and natural gasoline, said company spokesman Garry Pfeiffer.

Marathon is currently evaluating its right-of-way options and would like to begin construction in early 2016 and be operational by late 2016, he said.

The project would be funded and constructed by one of MPLX’s pipeline subsidiaries, he said.

The Cornerstone Pipeline may be used by Marathon to ship the Utica shale liquids to other refineries in the future, Pfeiffer said.

As the volume of liquids from the Utica shale grows, Marathon says it will be unable to process all of the condensate at its refineries in Canton and Cattlettsburg, Ky.

The company says it could look at shipping the excess liquids to refineries in western Ohio and into Canada for processing.

Marathon is also adding two condensate splitters that together cost $300 million to the refineries in Canton and Cattlettsburg.

That addition is capable of handling 25 million barrels per day and should be in full operation by late 2014. The Cattlettsburg plant would get new equipment to handle up top 35 million barrels per day. It should be operational in mid-2015.

Marathon is also expanding its truck-unloading facilities in Canton and its truck-to-barge facilities in Wellsville, Ohio, on the Ohio River.

Bob Downing can be reached at 330-996-3745 or bdowning@thebeaconjournal.com. ___

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