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Large Natural Gas Plant Planned for WV

Natural gas suppliers who drill in the Marcellus Shale will be able to use a new processing facility by the start of 2013.

Dominion Resources has announced it will build a major natural gas processing facility in Natrium, in the panhandle of West Virginia. The $500 million project is slated for completion by the end of next year.

Dominion spokesman Dan Donovan said the plant will be the second of its kind for the energy company, more versatile than the sub-processing facilities currently used. It will be able to process 200 million cubic feet of natural gas every day.

Donovan said smaller plants can't process "wet gas," or natural gas that has high amounts of propane and butane. The Natrium site will separate those substances from the methane gas that is commonly used in households. He said that the secondary gases would then be sold for use by various industries.

"Propane is a very big heating source and cooking source. Butane is used not only in lighters, but used in industry. And then there's another product called ethane, which is used in the making of plastics," said Donovan.

The second phase of the project aims to double the plant's production capacity, but Donovan said the viability of that goal depends on the number of contracts Dominion will receive from regional natural gas producers.