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PUCO gains oversight of vast network of oil and gas pipelines in Ohio
As the Utica Shale play develops regulatory issues arise

Tim Rudell
Storage tank for a well in Stark County
Courtesy of TPR
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In The Region:

Nobody has been regulating, inspecting, or watching a particular type of pipeline being installed all over eastern Ohio to service the Utica and Marcellus shale plays. But, WKSU’s Tim Rudell reports, that just changed.

LISTEN: Who's in charge of the middle?

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A gas and oil-drilling boom spins off a whole web of pipes. “Production pipelines” carry what comes from the wells to storage.  “Gathering lines” processing plant under construction near Scio move it from storage to processing, and take the product of the processing to long-haul hubs where “transmission pipelines” take it to market.

In Ohio, the state’s Department of Natural Resources oversees “production pipelines” pipeline under construction in Carroll Countyand the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission looks after “transmission” lines. 

But what about that great middle? “Gathering” lines may not be long, but they are many: In shale drilling alone, Ohio now has 169 producing wells with a thousand more permits approved.

PUCO steps in
That’s where the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio comes in. The agency’s Matt Schilling explains “these types of lines were not really under any kind of oversight at either the state or federal level. So, last year the General Assembly recognized that and extended the PUCO’s safety oversight over design, construction and the operation and maintenance of these lines.”

The PUCO spent the past year developing its set of standards and regulations for “gathering pipelines”…and that’s what it put into effect this week.

Related WKSU Stories

Cleveland State study shows economic bump in shale drilling counties
Thursday, August 22, 2013

Once and future right-of-ways: A new path for Ohio's old rails
Thursday, August 8, 2013

Some heard a boom, others say it sounded like high wind
Monday, July 22, 2013

Pipeline links Ohio's shale region to Gulf Coast
Monday, July 8, 2013

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