Monroe County Part of Columbia Pipeline Group's Plans For $1.75 Billion Project

A huge natural gas pipeline, dubbed the Leach XPress, is planned to be installed through Monroe County by Columbia Pipeline Group in upcoming years. The project represents an investment of $1.75 billion into a pipeline with a capacity of 1.5 billion cubic feet per day and would open up new markets to producers in the area trying to sell the massive amounts of shale gas being produced through horizontal drilling.
“This is really exciting for our company and for Eastern Ohio,” said Columbia Pipeline Group [CPG] community contact Zane Daniels.
All told, the proposed pipeline will travel 160 miles. Of that total, 22 miles will be installed in Monroe County, traveling the entire width of the county. Three new compressor stations will be built to coincide with the project, the closest one being west of Summerfield in Noble County.
According to Daniels, the pipeline will begin in Marshall County, WV; cross the Ohio River at the village of Clarington; travel west across Ohio to just southeast of Lancaster; then cut south and back to West Virginia. From there, the pipeline will connect with others already in place, leading eventually to the Leach Terminal in Kentucky, which connects to pipelines traveling to the Gulf of Mexico.
“We will see Ohio producers able to tap into markets they couldn’t access before,” explained Daniels. Daniels added, “Not only is it important for our company and our customers, but this is 1.5 billion cubic feet of new capacity.” 
Several property owners in Monroe County may be affected by the pipeline project. The acquisition process is set to start later this year with two informative open house meetings tentatively scheduled for the first two weeks of November. Daniels did not go into the acquisition process but said simply, “We’re going to give people a fair deal.”
With the application and acquisition process set to take several months, CPG hopes to begin construction on the proposed pipeline in late 2016 or early 2017. Construction of the entire 126 mile span is estimated to take six to eight months, and the projected in-service date is November 2017.
Through a press release, CPG’s chief executive officer, Glen Kettering, said of the project, “We have been a part of Ohio and West Virginia for more than 100 years and have an unparalleled footprint in the Marcellus and Utica production areas. These newly announced investments reaffirm our commitment to this important region and will increase the capacity and flexibility of the Columbia Transmission and Columbia Gulf systems to further enhance transportation options for producers in Appalachia. In addition, this investment will further support our commitment to economic growth and development by creating new project-related jobs and generating ongoing tax revenue for local communities.”