Gas pipeline plans through Valley on hold - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Gas pipeline plans through Valley on hold

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HOUSTON, Texas - The future is in doubt for a project that promised to create thousands of jobs in Ohio and Pennsylvania. The companies behind the Bluegrass Pipeline say they are no longer making capital investments in the project.

Boardwalk Pipeline Partners and Williams Companies revealed on Monday that they have not been able to obtain sufficient firm customer commitments for the 1,100 mile pipeline that would carry components of natural gas liquids from Pennsylvania through 15 Ohio Counties, including Mahoning and Columbiana, as well as Mercer County in Pennsylvania.  The pipeline would connect local producers with customers in Louisiana.

When first announced, developers said the project could mean about six-thousand construction jobs to lay the pipeline, as well as some permanent jobs along the route.

During a quarterly earnings conference call, Boardwalk President and Chief Executive Officer Stanley C. Horton told financial reporters that the project is not dead. "The joint venture between us and Williams is still in place and we continue to have discussions with customers." said Horton. He declined to characterize the type or number of customers involved in the discussions, citing competitive reasons.

However, Horton sounded an optimistic note about the idea behind the pipeline.  He said that production levels in the Marcellus and Utica regions are now exceeding local demand, so producers operating there need access to more markets for the gas. Horton says the producers are looking for ways to reach markets along the gulf coast.

Discussions had been underway with landowners along the pipeline right-of-way. With the majority of the properties in Columbiana County, company officials had said that compensation would have amounted to $8-million for the owners of 160 pieces of property. 43 properties were needed in Mercer County, and nine in Mahoning County.

Construction of the pipeline was originally planed to start in early 2015

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