Mariner East pipeline project to start by year’s end

March 14, 2013

A spokesman for Sunoco Inc. said the company plans to begin construction on the 50-mile Mariner East pipeline by year’s end.

But Joe McGinn said earlier this month that Sunoco is still in the planning stages for the line that will convey liquid propane and ethane from the MarkWest fractionalization plant in Chartiers Township to Delmont in Westmoreland County, where the 12-inch pipe will connect to Sunoco’s existing Mariner East line.

“We haven’t purchased any right-of-way yet,” McGinn said March 4. “We’re in the final stages of our site survey.”

From Delmont, the liquids will move to Marcus Hook, where Sunoco will build facilities to process, store, chill and distribute the propane and ethane to local, regional and international markets.

According to Sunoco, it plans to begin moving propane through the line by the second half of 2014 and move both propane and ethane by the first half of 2015.

McGinn said the project will cost a total of $600 million and will create 450 construction jobs.

While the company held an initial public meeting in Westmoreland County last fall to discuss the project with residents, McGinn said he’s uncertain whether additional meetings will be held.

“We have tried to engage stakeholders along the proposed route,” he said, adding that once the route is established, the company plans to work with first responders in the areas where the pipeline will be installed.

“We want to start construction by year’s end, but it depends on our site survey process. It’s a little too soon (to say when construction will begin) until we have the route.”

He said earlier news stories that had the line running through the borough of Houston were inaccurate.

In September, Range Resources and Sunoco Logistics Partners announced a 15-year agreement in which Range would be the anchor shipper on the Mariner East project.

Range Chief Executive Officer Jeff Ventura said in announcing his company’s role in the project that it will enhance the economics of Range’s core wet gas production and would help drive the company’s continued development of natural gas and associated liquids in Southwestern Pennsylvania.

He said the project would also help to provide the northeastern U.S. with ample supplies of heating fuel, open the global natural gas liquids market for Appalachian producers and help to serve as a building block for the potential expansion of the region’s petrochemical industry.

Michael Bradwell has been business editor for the Observer-Reporter since 1995, and was named editor of The Energy Report in 2012. He joined the newspaper in 1990 as a general assignment reporter in the Greene County bureau and has also worked as a copy editor. A 1974 graduate of Pennsylvania State University with a degree in English, he began his career at the Bedford (Pa.) Gazette. Prior to joining the O-R, he served as public relations director for Old Bedford Village, account executive at two Pittsburgh public relations agencies and copywriter for the country’s largest wholesaler of mutual funds.

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