Last week Senators Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., and Rob Portman, R-Ohio introduced the Appalachian Ethane Storage Hub Study Act, according to The Intelligencer. They believe the act will help keep Appalachian ethane in the region and encourage the construction of more petrochemical plants.
The legislation is intended to direct the U.S. departments of Energy and Commerce to study the impact of establishing a subterranean ethane storage and distribution hub for the Marcellus and Utica shale regions. It would help determine potential locations based on favorable geology, existing infrastructure, and proximity to well sites and end users.
Currently, Marcellus and Utica shale ethane is being shipped out of the region for cracking, and the rest is being blended into the methane stream to be sold as commercial natural gas.