utica shale

Pipeline under construction
Tim Rudell / WKSU

After a decade of urging by environmentalists, many banks now have social responsibility  policies for lending, including US Bank. It just modified its policy to put a prominent industry in northeast Ohio on the restricted list.

The bank amended its policy last month to state it "does not provide project financing for the construction of oil or natural gas pipelines. Relationships with clients in the oil and gas pipeline industries are subject to the Bank's enhanced due diligence."

Ohio RIver near plant site
CC BY 3.0, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=50015749 / Wikipedia

The decision on whether to build a multi-billion-dollar cracker plant in eastern Ohio is expected by the end of March and key environmental permits may already be in place.

Pipeline Map for Apalachian Region

Another step has been taken in building the region’s first “cracker.” That’s a processing plant that can turn ethane from Ohio’s Utica Shale into chemicals used by the polymer, plastics, and paint industries. 

Royal Dutch Shell said in June it will go ahead with the construction of the $5 billion cracker just east of the Ohio line in Beaver County, Pa. This month the company is starting to acquire right-of-way for a pipeline from the Utica shale hubs in Harrison County to the plant.

Typical pipeline construction
Tim Rudell / WKSU

Despite the stall in the Utica Shale boom, the nation’s biggest pipeline company is set to begin construction on a half-a-billion dollar transmission system across northern Ohio. 

Kinder Morgan’s ‘Utopia East’ pipeline would be for ethane, a secondary product of natural gas drilling vital to chemical plants. The 12- inch line is planned to run from Harrison County to a system near Toledo; that would send the ethane on to Canada.