In Ohio’s Utica shale, getting the natural gas out of the rock is the easy part.
Getting it out of the state, however, where it can fetch a decent price, is another matter entirely.
“The problem we have in this entire play is we’re still behind on midstream infrastructure and we need pipelines to get the gas out of the region,” said Ned Hill, an economist and former dean at Cleveland State University, now with Ohio State University, who has been studying Ohio’s shale boom.
Midstream means pipelines and processing plants for the most part. It’s the part of the oil and gas industry that either gets natural gas to end markets like Canada or the East Coast — where it sells for a fair bit more than it does in gas-drenched Ohio — or the part that separates out natural gas liquids like propane, butane and ethane and processes them.
In other words, it’s the highway to lucrative markets for the Utica shale’s two chief commodities — methane and ethane — and so far there are not enough lanes open.Click here to continue reading.
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