By DENISE GRANT
A new 50-mile pipeline, constructed between Harpster in Wyandot County and Lima in Allen County, is operational and will supply fuel to 10 Midwestern refineries.
The new line is a project of Marathon Pipe Line, a subsidiary of MPLX.
On Tuesday, company officials said it took 450 contractors over one million man-hours to construct the pipeline, but the project was on time and under budget.
The pipeline, known as Harpster-Lima, passed several tests during its commissioning. The line was tested with water under high pressure, welds were X-rayed, and a “smart tool” checked the length of the pipe for dents or corrosion.
The pipeline will be controlled from MPLX’s Findlay headquarters, and will be monitored constantly for pressure and flow rate, with real-time leak protection and aerial surveillance.
Aerial surveillance will be used to guard against construction over the pipeline and for storm damage.
In all, the company will invest $500 million to create a network of pipelines to move oil and gas products found in Utica shale from wells in eastern Ohio to refineries in the Midwest and Canada. The project interconnects both existing and new pipelines.
Much of the output from the wells, now numbering in the thousands, has been transported by barge, truck and rail car.
The pipelines will connect refineries in Ohio, Michigan, Indiana and Illinois to the shale operations. With the Harpster-Lima pipeline complete, Marathon Pipe Line will now focus on extending the network to the Canadian market. That work should be completed by December.
The pipeline will have a capacity of 50,000 barrels per day of either condensate (a mixture of light hydrocarbon liquids, separated from hydrocarbon gases) or natural gasoline (low-octane gasoline) from the Utica shale.
A tractor-trailer can only haul 190 barrels of fuel at a time. A single barrel holds the equivalent of 42 gallons.
In 2015, MPLX bought MarkWest, the nation’s second-largest natural gas processor. It is the largest gas processor in the Marcellus and Utica shale plays in eastern Ohio and the northeastern U.S. The Marcellus-Utica shale is the largest in the United States and possibly the world.
The shale plays are expected to continue to produce fuel for the next 20 to 30 years, company officials said.