MarkWest to expand Butler County natural gas processing complex

A natural gas processing complex in Butler County will see another expansion to handle growing production from the Marcellus and Upper Devonian shale formations, MarkWest Energy Partners said Tuesday.

The Denver-based midstream company said the expansion of the Keystone complex in Evans City is backed by new agreements with Rex Energy, a driller based in State College, and EdgeMarc Energy, a driller based in Canonsburg.

MarkWest plans to build Bluestone III and Bluestone IV, both of which are 200 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d) plants that are expected to begin operations in late 2015 and early 2016, respectively.

In addition, MarkWest will build 40,000 barrels per day (b/d) of additional de-ethanization capacity and more than 20,000 b/d of additional propane and heavier natural gas liquid fractionation capacity, the company said.

Rex Energy recently expanded its footprint in the region with the acquisition of about 208,000 acres from SWEPI, LP, an affiliate of Royal Dutch Shell for $120 million in cash.

Tom Stabley, CEO of Rex Energy, said the deals with MarkWest “firmly position us to execute our development plans for both our legacy acreage and the new Shell acreage in the Butler Operated Area. Looking forward, having secured the right to additional capacity in future expansions provides a strong foundation for our long-term development plans in the region."

The Keystone complex currently consists of the Bluestone processing and fractionation complex and the Sarsen processing facility, which combined currently provide 210 MMcf/d of processing capacity and 26,500 Bbl/d of fractionation capacity, according to MarkWest.

The Keystone complex is anchored by Rex Energy and in May 2014, MarkWest began operations of the 120 MMcf/d Bluestone II plant and 10,000 b/d each of ethane and propane plus fractionation capacity to continue supporting Rex Energy’s growing rich-gas production, MarkWest noted.

Stephanie Ritenbaugh: or 412-263-4910

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