The Williams Partners, Royal Dutch Shell reveal venture

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The Williams Partners and Royal Dutch Shell are creating a joint venture that could provide a proposed petrochemical facility with gas and liquids that can be converted into plastics.

In an announcement Friday, Tulsa, Okla.-based Williams said it would provide an initial $150 million investment to start the so-called Three Rivers Midstream venture. The project will include building a gas processing plant, whose site has yet to be determined, by mid-2015 and constructing infrastructure to provide gas and liquids feedstock to petrochemical facilities in the Northeast.

The venture hopes to provide gas and natural gas liquids extracted from the region's Marcellus and Utica shale formations to companies and facilities that would then process them into other products.

Three Rivers Midstream will be owned and operated by Williams, but Shell has the right to invest or increase its stake by mid-2015. Shell has not said yet whether it will go ahead with plans to build an ethane cracker facility at a selected site in Monaca, but the two companies said Friday that the Three Rivers Midstream lines would connect to the cracker if it is built.

Regardless, the Three Rivers Midstream operations plan to tap into the Bluegrass Pipeline project being built by Williams and Boardwalk Pipeline Partners to transport gas from Appalachia to facilities and export markets on the Gulf Coast.

Williams said it plans to pursue agreements that allow it to process gas and liquids from other producers in the Marcellus and Utica shale regions.

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