HOUSTON and DENVER – August 13, 2008– NiSource Inc. (NYSE: NI) unit Columbia Gas Transmission Corp. and MarkWest Energy Partners, LP (NYSE:MWE) today announced their intention to jointly develop several natural gas gathering and processing projects to support increased production volumes in the Appalachian Basin.
Columbia Gas and MarkWest are in discussions with several interested natural gas producers regarding plans to provide new gathering and gas processing services in association with Columbia Gas’ existing Majorsville, W.Va., compressor station, which serves the northern panhandle area of West Virginia and western Pennsylvania.
Several existing Columbia Gas pipelines in Washington and Greene counties in Pennsylvania and Marshall and Wetzel counties in West Virginia would serve as the backbone of the gathering system connecting with a proposed MarkWest processing plant at Majorsville. MarkWest could offer processing at Majorsville as early as January 2009 and could ramp up the capacity to approximately 100 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d) by mid 2009 and to over 200 MMcf/d by mid 2010. MarkWest would likely complement these processing facilities with a natural gas liquids fractionation facility to take advantage of the premium regional markets and maximize the value of the producers’ gas.
The gathering capacity would be made available in the near future with access to Columbia Gas’ regulated transmission and storage services. A portion of the transmission capacity could be available for service as early as December 2008, with the remaining capacity available by April 2009. Additional expansions of gathering and processing capabilities in the region will be made available as producers expand their drilling activities in the area. Initial primary delivery points from MarkWest’s proposed processing facility at Majorsville would be to Columbia Gas and to Spectra subsidiary Texas Eastern Transmission Co. at Windridge, Pa.
“With the significant increase in drilling activity and recent uplift in deliverability in the Marcellus Shale, there is a critical, immediate need for capacity to allow producers to move their gas out of the basin and further develop the area,” said Christopher A. Helms, executive vice president and Group CEO for Columbia Gas parent NiSource Gas Transmission & Storage. “Providing new solutions for delivering supplies to high-value markets is an important growth area for Columbia Gas Transmission, and this joint project with MarkWest is a great opportunity for all concerned. With this and other projects, we are working hard to advance NiSource’s balanced plan to meet customer needs and generate long-term, sustainable earnings growth.”
“The Appalachian basin is one of the fastest growing resource plays in the United States, and MarkWest has successfully operated in the basin for over twenty years,” said Frank Semple, president and chief executive officer of MarkWest Energy Partners. “MarkWest is ideally positioned to support increased gathering and processing capacity in the Marcellus Shale and surrounding areas, and we look forward to working with Columbia Gas Transmission to develop the critical link that allows our producer customers to deliver gas and NGLs to favorable markets.”
About Columbia Gas Transmission and NiSource
Columbia Gas Transmission Corp. (TCO) is an interstate gas transmission and storage company, operating 37 storage fields and a 12,000-mile network of natural gas pipelines in 10 Mid-Atlantic, Northeastern and Southern states. TCO transports approximately 1 trillion cubic feet of gas per year to 72 local gas distribution companies.
NiSource Inc. (NYSE: NI), based in Merrillville, Ind., is a Fortune 500 company engaged in natural gas transmission, storage and distribution, as well as electric generation, transmission and distribution. NiSource operating companies deliver energy to more than 3.8 million customers located within the high-demand energy corridor stretching from the Gulf Coast through the Midwest to New England. Information about NiSource and its subsidiaries is available via the Internet at www.nisource.com.
About MarkWest Energy Partners
MarkWest Energy Partners, L.P. is a growth-oriented master limited partnership engaged in the gathering, transportation, and processing of natural gas; the transportation, fractionation, marketing, and storage of natural gas liquids; and the gathering and transportation of crude oil. MarkWest has extensive natural gas gathering, processing, and transmission operations in the southwestern and Gulf Coast regions of the United States and is the largest natural gas processor in the Appalachian region. The primary business strategy of MarkWest is to provide outstanding customer service at competitive rates and to expand its assets and cash flow available for distribution through a balanced combination of organic growth projects and selective acquisitions.
NiSource Forward-Looking Statements
This news release includes forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Those statements include statements regarding the intent, belief or current expectations of NiSource and its management. Although NiSource believes that its expectations are based on reasonable assumptions, it can give no assurance that its goals will be achieved. Readers are cautioned that the forward-looking statements in this presentation are not guarantees of future performance and involve a number of risks and uncertainties, and that actual results could differ materially from those indicated by such forward-looking statements. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those indicated by such forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, the following: weather; fluctuations in supply and demand for energy commodities; growth opportunities for NiSource's businesses; increased competition in deregulated energy markets; the success of regulatory and commercial initiatives; dealings with third parties over whom NiSource has no control; the success of NiSource's restructuring of its outsourcing agreement; actual operating experience of NiSource assets; the regulatory process; regulatory and legislative changes; changes in general economic, capital and commodity market conditions; and counter-party credit risk.
MarkWest Energy Partners Forward-Looking Statements
This press release includes “forward-looking statements.” All statements other than statements of historical facts included or incorporated herein may constitute forward-looking statements. Actual results could vary significantly from those expressed or implied in such statements and are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties. Although MarkWest believes that the expectations reflected in the forward-looking statements are reasonable, MarkWest can give no assurance that such expectations will prove to be correct. The forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties that affect MarkWest’s operations, financial performance, and other factors as discussed in MarkWest’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Among the factors that could cause results to differ materially are those risks discussed in MarkWest’s Annual Report on Form 10-K, as amended, for the year ended December 31, 2007, as filed with the SEC. You are urged to carefully review and consider the cautionary statements and other disclosures made in those filings, specifically those under the heading “Risk Factors.” MarkWest does not undertake any duty to update any forward-looking statement except as required by law.
MarkWest Energy Partners, L.P.
Frank Semple, 866-858-0482
Chairman, President & CEO
Nancy Buese, 866-858-0482
Senior VP and CFO
Dan Campbell, 866-858-0482
VP of Finance & Treasurer