MOUNDSVILLE, W.Va. — A new pipeline put into service this week will carry natural gas from the Marcellus Shale plays of the northern region of West Virginia to gas markets in the southeast United States. TransCanada put its new Leach XPress pipeline into service for the first time on January 1.

“This gas will serve markets in our region as well as other markets further down the road in the southeast United States,” said Scott Castleman Manager of U.S. Gas Communications for TransCanada.

The 160 mile pipeline starts in Marshall County, West Virginia, travels across the river into Ohio, and turns south. The terminal point is near the West Virginia-Kentucky border in southeastern Ohio. The line is one of many TransCanada has in the various stages of development aimed at increasing the capacity to transport Marcellus Shale products more rapidly to market.

“This is our first major pipeline in our growth portfolio,” Castleman explained. “There’s currently about 8 and a half billion dollars in pipeline projects in the works for the U.S. and TransCanada.”

TransCanada operates the lines formerly operated by Columbia GasĀ  in West Virginia. The Leach XPress line can transport up to 1.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas a day.

“Successful completion of Leach XPress is a prime example of TransCanada’s North American strategy of connecting prolific and growing supply basins with markets eager to access reliable, reasonably priced sources of energy,” said Russ Girling, TransCanada President and CEO. “This is truly a best-in-class pipeline and we look forward to many years of safe, reliable, and efficient operation on behalf of our customers.”

Construction of the pipeline took approximately a year and involved 5,000 employees and contractors on the massive job. Most of the project was in the state of Ohio. It was closely monitored for safety and environmental impact according to Castleman.

“Leach XPress was done in less than a year. It was done safely and with a very keen eye on environmental responsibility,” he explained. “We’re looking forward to generations of safe operations.”

The gas transmitted along the line comes out of production operations in much of West Virginia’s northern panhandle as well as surrounding areas in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

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