Williams Partners, Shell form midstream JV

Williams Partners LP, Tulsa, and Royal Dutch Shell PLC have joined to form Three Rivers Midstream, a company to provide gas gathering and gas processing for production in northwest Pennsylvania. The venture will invest in both wet-gas handling infrastructure and dry-gas infrastructure serving Marcellus and Utica shale wells.

Three Rivers Midstream has signed a long-term, fee-based dedicated gathering and processing agreement for Shell's production in the area, which includes about 275,000 dedicated acres, said the company announcement earlier this month.

The JV also plans to pursue gathering and processing agreements with other producers in the liquids-rich areas of northeast Ohio in addition to northwest Pennsylvania.

Three Rivers will build a 200-MMcfd cryogenic gas processing plant at a location yet to be determined. The gas processing complex will expand as Three Rivers' business grows, said Williams. The plant is to be in service by second-quarter 2015.

Alan Armstrong, Williams Partners’ chief executive officer of Williams Partners' general partner, said the system will be connected to two major proposed developments in Pennsylvania: Shell’s proposed ethylene cracker (feasibility still being studied) in Beaver County and the proposed Williams-Boardwalk JV to develop the Bluegrass Pipeline system that would deliver Marcellus and Utica liquids to Gulf Coast and export markets (OGJ Online, Mar. 7, 2013).

The proposed Bluegrass pipeline targets a late 2015 in-service date.

Williams Partners will initially own most of Three Rivers Midstream and operate the assets. Shell retains the right to invest capital and increase its ownership before mid-2015. Williams Partners’ portion of initial capital expenditures on the Three Rivers plant, not including the gathering system, will be about $150 million.

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