XTO Energy Inc. opened a new facility in Butler County on Tuesday that will recover natural gas liquids from Marcellus Shale drilling.
The Renfrew plant encompasses 340 acres, 40 miles of connecting pipeline and two gas compressor stations. It is the first of its kind in the Appalachia region for XTO, a Fort Worth, Texas, energy company that is a subsidiary of ExxonMobil.
"The facility will add value to XTO and Butler County," said Tim McIlwain, senior vice president, production operations, stressing the economic growth that the plant would bring to southwestern Pennsylvania.
XTO plans to employ 15 at the facility, "a mixture of local hires and transfers from other regions," according to J.D. Estes, the company's media adviser.
Natural gas liquids, such as ethane and butane, have maintained their value even as the cost of natural gas remains low. Propane and methane also will be separated at the facility.
The separated liquids are sold to MarkWest Energy Partners, a Denver-based transporter of natural gas liquids, which delivers them to a plant in Washington County for processing. The methane will be sold to NiSource, a Merrillville, ?Ind.,-based company that transmits, stores and distributes natural gas to multiple pipeline outlets.
"The products are a valuable feedstock for the chemical and manufacturing sectors. This illustrates the benefits that the shale revolution can provide other U.S. industries," Mr. Estes wrote in an email.
This comes just two months after a state House committee passed a series of bills -- part of the Marcellus Works package that offers millions of dollars in tax credits in an attempt to spur more in-state natural gas production. That's a facet of the recent oil and gas drilling boom that has been largely exported south to the Gulf of Mexico where there are numerous natural gas liquids plants.
Andrew Gretchko: email@example.com.