WEST UNION — Doddridge County leads West Virginia’s 55 counties in oil and natural gas production, according to Anne Blankenship, executive director of the West Virginia Oil & Natural Gas Association.
“Doddridge County is the top producing natural gas county in the state — producing 380,461,677 million square feet of natural gas in 2017,” she said. “And slightly less than that in 2016.”
While these production numbers contribute to the state’s overall economy, they also bolster the economy of the local area, Blankenship said.
“The industry has an enormous economic impact in Doddridge County — (it) contributed over $15 million in property taxes in 2017 and $1.6 million in severance tax to that county alone in 2017,” she said.
One of the area’s leading facilities is the MarkWest Sherwood Complex, Blankenship said.
“The MarkWest Sherwood Complex continues to help the residents of Doddridge County in a variety of ways through the site’s work in oil and gas,” she said. “It continues to grow and has the capacity to process 1.8 billion cubic feet per day of gas.”
Her organization expects Doddridge County to remain at the epicenter of the state’s oil and gas industry for years to come, Blankenship said.
“Production is expected to continue to increase statewide (in the coming years) — including Doddridge County and the Sherwood facility is also expected to grow in capacity,” she said. “Pipeline projects are also slated for this county, bringing construction jobs and activity in the local area to spur the local economy.”
Tina Rush, a local government affairs representative for MarkWest, said the Sherwood Complex began operation in October 2012.
The facility, which removes the heavier and more valuable hydrocarbon components from natural gas, is among the county’s largest employers, Rush said.
“Including full-time MarkWest employees as well as contractors constructing the new processing plants, MarkWest provides hundreds of people employment at the Sherwood Complex,” she said.
In January of 2017, MarkWest and Antero Midstream entered a joint venture to continue development of the Sherwood Complex. This allowed the company to add three more gas processing plants, each with the capacity of processing 200 million cubic feet of gas every day, Rush said.
The facility has continued to grow over the last year, Rush said.
“Sherwood currently has 9 processing plants with a total capacity of 1.8 billion cubic feet per day,” she said. “In addition, the Sherwood Complex has de-ethanization capacity of 40,000 barrels per day.”
Even more additions are planned in the near future, Rush said.
“Two additional processing plants are expected to begin operation before the end of the year at Sherwood, with an additional 400,000 cubic feet per day capacity, as well as another de-ethanization unit with 20,000 barrels per day capacity,” she said. “There is the potential to develop six additional processing plants in Doddridge County, at the Sherwood Complex and an expansion site called the Smithburg plant.”
Samantha Norris, communications specialist for Dominion Energy, said the Richmond, Virginia-based company also has a sizable presence in the Doddridge County area.
“Dominion Energy Transmission Inc. operates five compressor stations that pump natural gas in Doddridge County and one major compressor station, LL Tonkin,” she said. “Doddridge County is home to major gathering and interstate transmission lines that connect natural gas to the Hastings Extraction/Fractionation Plant in Wetzel County where it is processed and sent back into interstate transmission lines such as the Rockies Express which distributes gas throughout the Midwest.”
A portion of Dominion’s Fink-Kennedy/Lost Creek Storage Field, one of the largest storage field in the country, is also located in Doddridge County, Norris said.
“This natural gas is used to supply customers including the Columbia TransCanada servicing millions of customers from New York State to the Gulf of Mexico and Kinder Morgan’s Tennessee Gas Pipeline servicing natural gas demands in the northeast section of the United States, including New York City and Boston,” she said.
The area has long been vital to Dominion’s West Virginia operations, said Phyllis Hinterer, director of Southern Area Transmission Operations for Dominion.
“Dominion Energy has had a business presence in Doddridge County for decades,” she said. “With hundreds of miles of gathering and interstate transmission pipelines, storage fields and facilities such as the LL Tonkin Compressor Station, Dominion Energy brings in more than $800,000 annually in property tax revenue to the county. Once the Supply Header Project is completed, it is estimated that $2,080,647 in property tax payments to Doddridge County will be generated in 2022.”
Dominion prides itself on its history civic engagement and charitable contributions in the Doddridge County area, Hinterer said.
“It is important to help the community and support education because that’s where we will find our future workforce,” she said.
The Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation have given over $65,700 in 2017 to local schools, 4-H, emergency response groups and youth initiatives, Norris said.
“Dominion Energy is proud to support community initiatives that benefit area children by creating a safer and brighter environment for them to play and learn,” she said.
Dominion looks forward to remaining apart of the Doddridge County community for decades to come, Hinterer said.
“Currently, we have several tie-ins in Doddridge County, servicing regional producers such as Antero and MarkWest and look forward to a long and productive future transporting and storing gas in the region,” she said. “As drilling in the Marcellus Shale Basin continues, we will look for new marketing opportunities that will benefit our local economy, service more customers and strengthen our nation’s energy independence.”