Capito, Portman, Manchin Introduce Bill to Explore Ethane Storage Potential in Appalachia

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) today introduced bipartisan legislation to assess the feasibility and potential benefits of establishing a subterranean ethane storage and distribution hub in central Appalachia. The Appalachian Ethane Storage Hub Study Act of 2017 is co-sponsored by Senators Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.). The legislation would help inform efforts to maximize America’s domestic energy and manufacturing potential.
“Making the most of our energy and manufacturing potential is critical to driving economic growth and development in states like West Virginia and across the country,” Senator Capito said. “The Appalachian Ethane Storage Hub Study Act will help us figure out the best way to utilize the region’s resources and improve our infrastructure. Not only will this legislation inform future projects and policies, but it will also help attract private dollars to ensure Appalachia remains an important player in America’s energy and manufacturing strategy.”
“According to a recent study, southeastern Ohio and the surrounding region could see billions in private investment in new petrochemical manufacturing by 2025. This legislation is a first step in the process of making the potential plans a reality by ensuring that the region has the infrastructure in place to meet anticipated demands,” Senator Portman said.
“I am proud to support the Appalachian Storage Hub because it will help attract significant manufacturing investments to the region, create well-paying jobs, and boost the region’s economy while also providing the national security benefits associated with this critical infrastructure,” Senator Manchin said. “Our region’s access to natural gas and natural gas liquids, like ethane and propane, combined with our proximity to manufacturing markets in the Midwest and the East Coast make West Virginia an ideal location for a storage hub. This bill and resulting study are important steps to realizing the potential this hub would have for our region. I intend to pursue additional legislation that Congress can pass to support this vital project and create jobs for West Virginia and the Appalachian region.”
The unprecedented growth in natural gas production in Appalachia’s Marcellus, Utica and Rogersville shales has fundamentally changed the natural gas market in the United States and helped restore America’s place as an energy superpower. However, a lack of infrastructure and storage has caused much of the gas being produced to be “locked in” to the region, leading to waste and limiting the potential use of associated natural gas liquids such as ethane.
The Appalachian Ethane Storage Hub Study Act of 2017 directs the secretary of Energy and the secretary of Commerce, in consultation with other relevant federal agencies, to conduct a feasibility study of establishing a subterranean ethane storage and distribution hub in Marcellus, Utica and Rogersville shale plays. The study would include an analysis of potential locations based on favorable geology, economic feasibility and benefits, infrastructure and proximity to production sites and potential industrial consumers. As a result, the bill will:

  • Demonstrate the economic potential of a subterranean ethane storage and distribution hub,
  • Inform future federal energy and infrastructure policy in the area, and
  • Encourage private investment in a region facing unique energy and manufacturing challenges.

Click here for a one-page summary of the bill.

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