Antero Ohio River pipeline to cost $525M

PARKERSBURG – An energy company plans to construct an 80-mile, $525 million pipeline from the Ohio River to supply water to operations in Tyler and Ritchie counties.

Antero Resources has filed a permit with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to build the pipeline from the river near the Pleasants and Tyler County line and run southeast through Pleasants, Tyler and into Ritchie County.

The water line is estimated to draw 3,360 gallons of river water a minute, or about 4.8 million gallons a day. According to the map provided by the corps, the water line would serve at least four well pads in Tyler and Ritchie counties.

Al Schopp, vice president of finance and administration for Antero Resources, declined to discuss the proposal, but directed The News and Sentinel to the Securities and Exchange Commission filings and the company’s second-quarter financial reports detailing the water line.

Schopp said the line will eliminate the large demand for water trucks, which is the largest source of complaints to the company.

According to Antero’s second-quarter report, the company spent $84 million for 200 miles of water-handling infrastructure in Marcellus and Utica Shale fields. According to Antero’s S-1/A form filed with SEC, the proposed pipeline system will cost $525 million, with $250 million expected to be spent on the project this year.

“It is expected to deliver a reliable, year-round water supply, lessen water-handling costs and decrease water truck traffic on local roadways,” the filing states. “We believe this system will reduce our completion costs by up to $600,000 per horizontal well.”

Thirty percent of its 2013 wells and up to 90 percent of its 2014 wells will utilize this new infrastructure, the company stated in reports.

Susan Porter, regulatory project manager for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, said the pipeline is going to be constructed by open trenching, installing the line and backfilling. Schopp said Antero has already acquired rights from property owners to install the line.

Porter said the corps has no jurisdiction over the regulatory use of the water, just the project as it pertains to the Ohio River and its intersection with any other streams or bodies of water.

“The actual use of water and the quantity of withdrawal is delegated to the state,” Porter said.

Kathy Cosco, communications director for the state Department of Environmental Protection, said that amount of water withdrawal is already occurring from smaller streams, impoundments and the Ohio River. Cosco said a pipeline from the river is a better option because the river is able to handle that capacity, as compared to some of the smaller streams.

Cosco said the DEP has no authority over the water trucks, but the agency receives “LOTS” of complaints about the trucks.

“From our perspective if it reduces the truck traffic and takes those withdrawals from the Ohio River, which has a much larger capacity to handle it, then it seems as though it will benefit those communities and the environment,” Cosco said.

Antero Resources is an independent oil and natural gas company engaged in the acquisition, development and production of unconventional oil and liquids-rich natural gas properties primarily located in the Appalachian Basin in West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

The company, formed in 2002, is headquartered in Denver. It has district offices in Marietta and Mount Clare in Harrison County.