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Tyler County Development Authority Identifies Potential Gas Storage Hubs

By Staff | Nov 29, 2017

The Tyler County Development Authority met at the courthouse in Middlebourne where it was mentioned that the Appalachian Storage Hub Study and Prospects report has been completed. There is an 80 page final report that can be viewed at wvgs.wvnet.edu/ash/securepasages/docs/MASTER-ASH-Final-report-8-29-2017.pdf.

The red circles on the map indicate available salt caverns and although a storage hub would take up more space than the indicated circles show, the caverns could extend into the other shales and formations that can be part of the storage areas. One encouraging factor is that the Bens Run cavern has a potentially larger expansion range than the other salt caverns and it is also more centrally located to potential ethane crackers. It is a regional project that could could create jobs and tax revenues for the state.

The report states that the proposed $10 billion Appalachian Storage Hub will all but ensure the natural gas liquids from the Marcellus, Utica and Rogersville shale formations will be utilized within the region. Without the investment much of the gas could be lost to the Gulf Coast and Canada or shipped across the Atlantic Ocean. The Hub is envisioned as a series of underground storage facilities that serve multiple partners who will invest in the costs of development and operations. The Hub would connect the ethane cracker being developed by Shell Chemical Appalachia LLC in Monaca, PA, run down the Ohio River to Marathon Petroleum Corp.’s Catlettsburg facility over to the chemical plants in Kanawha County. The storage hub would help encourage other ethane crackers being considered in Dillies Bottom, Ohio, and in Wood and Kanawha counties in West Virginia which sets a table for major expansion in manufacturing. The Appalachian Storage Hub would guarantee a supply of raw material and feed stock which is vital for a resilient supply chain. Industry is keenly aware, with the Gulf Coast always on the alert for hurricanes, any one of which could take out or seriously damage a significant part of the concentrated petrochemical infrastructure, the time is right to strategically diversify the natural gas and petrochemical infrastructure. The Mont Belvieu public private storage hub on the Gulf Coast is a huge facility and globally, storage hubs are found in Al Jubali, Saudi Arabia and Rotterdam, Netherlands.

The Development Authority has continued to pursue the lack of sustainable broadband throughout the county. A $30,000 Planning Grant has been applied for and there may be a possible increase because the West Virginia Development Office has recognized broadband as a state wide priority. This is the first time broadband planning has been eligible through the Community Development Block Grant showing that the state identifies it as a necessity. It will even be treated with the same importance as water and sewer projects.

The new laws have empowered a Broadband Utility Council which will allow the placement of lines on existing utility poles establishing a co-op to establish its own utility. Therefore, other existing broadband providers, such as Frontier, Suddenlink or Comcast, could not have the ability to refuse the use of existing utility poles.

An application has been sent to the Department of Transportation for two recreational grants which are available to at risk counties as labeled by the ARC. One grant in the amount of $50,000 to be used towards the Sistersville walking trail which needs to be widened and updated. The second grant, in the amount of $100,000, would go towards a canoe water trail located at the Jug in Middlebourne. There has been a major influx in the number of people taking canoe and kayak trips around the jug and the grant would allow for the trail to be on DOH right-of-ways and it will not intrude on any private land.

CSX is demanding that service increase or the Development Authority pay $10,000. Proviron is receiving and using some cars and there is another potential user that will fill the obligation of usage so the county should be able to increase the usage demand.

The Local Economic Development Grant Resolution is due and the board appointed Eric Peters to act on behalf of the Development Authority to join a contractual agreement with the West Virginia Development Office to receive grant funds pursuant to the 2018 fiscal year. The grant has been reduced from $30,000 to $20,000 due to budget restraints. The county commissioners have pledged $15,000 which is to be matched by the Development Authority.

The Development Authority approved new members Scott Northcraft, representative of Friendly, and Brandon Chaddock, representative of Sistersville. Also, authority members John Hopkins and Terry Wiley were reappointed until Dec. 21, 2020.

Dianna Rice of Sistersville General Hospital sent a letter thanking the Development Authority for their contribution to the golf tournament benefit and the SGH was able to raise over $9,000.

The next scheduled Development Authority meeting is set for January 18, 2018, located at the Tyler County Courthouse in Middlebourne beginning at 7:00pm.