Tale of Two Shales: Bakken Gets a Pipeline and a Marcellus “Bottleneck”

The sun shines over the Bakken shale in North Dakota. (image: Hess Corporation)

To end the week, here are a pair of reports from two propane-producing shale formations in the country.

First, from the Bakken shale, a subsidiary of Tulsa’s Oneok Partners, Bear Paw Energy, has announced plans to build a pair of natural gas processing plants along with a 64-mile natural gas liquids pipeline, according to the Associated Press. The supply line will cost $24 million — or $375,000 a mile — and run from near Williston, N.D., into Montana.

The Bakken, which holds oil and natural gas, is a rock formation in parts of Montana and North Dakota.

Though should the Marcellus shale be getting that pipeline?

The natural gas fields there lack sufficient infrastructure to process the “wet” haul, reports the Pittsburgh public radio station WDUQ. And one anaylst tells the station that energy companies must either build processing plants or pipe their natural gas liquids down to the Gulf Coast for refining. Mark Huhndorff adds that there is plenty of interest in backing new investments in this processing network.

The Marcellus shale is a gas-rich rock formation that runs along the Appalachians through parts of West Virginia and Pennsylvania.

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