HOUSTON, March 8 (UPI) -- U.S. energy company Williams and Boardwalk Pipeline Partners announced plans for a joint venture to move Midwest shale natural gas to the southern coast.
The companies announced plans to send natural gas from the Marcellus and Utica plays to facilities along the Louisiana and Texas coast for possible exports.
The Bluegrass pipeline would include construction of a new pipeline from West Virginia and Ohio and conversion of existing pipe from Kentucky to Louisiana. The pipeline is designed for 200,000 barrels of natural gas liquids per day, which could eventually double to meet market demand.
Williams President Alan Armstrong said the lack of export infrastructure is limiting shale developments in the region.
"The current infrastructure challenge with natural gas liquids in the Northeast is slowing drilling and isolating liquids supplies from the robust markets in the gulf that are poised to grow substantially over the next five years," he said in a statement.
The Utica and Marcellus shale plays are among the most lucrative in the United States, lending to the natural gas boom in the country.
Investment bank FBR Capital Markets in November warned that production in the Marcellus shale play will decline from 2.3 billion cubic feet per day to 1.3 billion cfd because of the lack of export capacity.
The pipeline is subject to regulatory approval.