Brittany Patterson Published

Appalachian Natural Gas Storage Hub Developers Bring in Outside Firm

Tower for drilling horizontally into the Marcellus Shale Formation for natural gas, from Pennsylvania Route 118 in eastern Moreland Township, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, USA

Developers of a major underground natural gas liquids storage facility say they are one step closer to making construction a reality. The Appalachian Development Group announced in an Aug. 29 news release that it selected an outside development and engineering firm to help with project planning and construction.

Parsons Corporation will collect data and information the multi-billion-dollar project needs to move forward.

“We believe the best opportunity for success is achieved by engaging our journey partner in Parsons,” Appalachia Development Group CEO Steve Hedrick said via email. “This includes both with the U.S. DOE Loan Program Office and further through construction of the [Appalachia Storage and Trading Hub].”

The Appalachia Storage and Trading Hub cleared its first major hurdle earlier this year, when it got approval for the first of two phases for a $1.9 billion U.S. Department of Energy loan.

The project developers said the company will help the project as it seeks the full federal loan and outside funding.

The project has the support of both of West Virginia’s U.S. senators — Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Shelly Moore Capito, R-W.Va..  They sponsored legislation last year that would designate the hub as “critical energy infrastructure.”

China’s largest partially state-owned energy company, China Energy, has pledged an additional $84 billion investment in the region to facilitate the development of a petrochemical industry. The company signed an  MOU with the state of West Virginia to build a series of facilities that would process natural gas liquids and its byproducts, but the escalating trade war with China appears to have temporarily slowed progress.

Environmental groups across the region have expressed concerns that the hub will turn the Ohio Valley into a major petrochemical region with public health dangers and contribute to climate change.