Sections of a 20-inch pipeline are scattered all around Batesville. Ultimately the finished line will carry a liquid across the country that will be transformed into a variety of consumer plastics.
A geologic formation called the Marcellus/Utica Shale, deposited in a marine environment 390 million years ago, represents a new source of domestic energy and economic growth potential as “one of the nation’s most prolific areas of liquids-rich natural gas,” points out the Web site www.atexexpresspipeline.com. “The 1,230-mile Appalachia-to-Texas (ATEX) Express Pipeline is designed to facilitate development of this quickly growing resource by providing takeaway capacity for ethane from Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio to the Texas Gulf Coast petrochemical market.”
Ethane is a natural gas liquid (NGL), like butane and propane.
The ATEX pipeline’s northern portion will involve the construction of 369 miles of pipeline from Washington County, Pa., and through Batesville to Seymour, where it will connect with an existing pipeline owned by Enterprise Liquids Pipeline LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Enterprise Products Partners LP, Houston, Texas.
That pipeline, which currently transports refined products from the Gulf Coast to the Midwest, will be placed into ethane service and the flow direction will be reversed. At its southern terminus, ATEX will have access to a new 55-mile pipeline to be built by Enterprise Products that will extend from Beaumont, Texas, to the company’s NGL storage complex at Mont Belvieu, Texas, according to the Web site.
The pipeline’s route was determined by professional survey teams and pipeline engineers, and was designed to minimize the impact on landowners, the environment, historical areas and communities through which it will pass. Wherever practical, ATEX parallels existing pipelines.
The timetable: landowner outreach and field surveys, October 2011-July 2012; route selection and preparation of permit applications, September 2011-September 2012; final U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permit review and approval, July-September 2012; start of construction, April 2013; final cleanup and land restoration, November 2013-January 2014.