Utopia East Pipeline Project, Ohio, United States of America


The proposed Utopia East Pipeline Project will involve the construction of a new 215mi (346km)-long, 12in diameter pipeline in Ohio, US. Plans for the construction of the $500m project were unveiled by Kinder Morgan in 2015. The company sold its 50% equity stake in the project to Riverstone Investment Group in June 2016.

The engineering and construction works on the project are expected to start in November 2016 and are scheduled for completion by January 2018.

Location of the Utopia East Pipeline

To be laid entirely within the state of Ohio, the pipeline will originate in Harrison County and pass through Carroll, Tuscarawas, Stark, Wayne, Ashland, Richland, Huron, Seneca, Sandusky, Wood, Lucas, and Henry counties.

The termination point of the pipeline will be in Fulton County where it will be connected to the existing Kinder Morgan pipeline to transfer the refined or fractionated products eastbound to Windsor, Ontario.

Utopia East Pipeline project details

The Utopia East pipeline will offer an initial capacity to transfer 50,000 barrels per day (bpd), which can be further increased to more than 75,000bpd with the induction of new pump stations. The pipeline will have a life expectancy of up to 100 years.

Kinder Morgan made a long-term transportation agreement with NOVA Chemicals to ship ethane and ethane-propane mixtures from the prolific Utica shale area through the proposed Utopia East pipeline in September 2014.

The project will be approved and supervised by federal and state agencies including the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, the US Army Corp of Engineers, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Construction of the Utopia East Pipeline

"The pipeline will have a life expectancy of up to 100 years."

Construction is expected to start in the last quarter of 2016, and will be carried out in phases. The initials works will include land clearance, while the next stage of activities will include stringing, welding and installation of the pipe, followed by placing in the ditch and then covering it with soil.

The pipeline will be covered by at least 36in of soil as per the federal and state requirements. The depth may vary based on factors such as the terrain geography, landowner agreements and the presence of farm lands.

The project will mostly use the existing public roads for the right-of-way, which will be 50ft-wide. The pipeline construction will use common construction equipment such as bulldozers and backhoes, along with specialty equipment including side-booms and pipe bending machines.

Once the pipeline is laid, the pipe will be inspected and hydrostatically tested by sending water through it at high-pressures, according to the regulations of the US Department of Transportation.

Benefits of Utopia East Pipeline project

The Utopia East project will generate approximately 900 local jobs during the construction phases and will create five full-time permanent jobs in Ohio. The project will employ skilled, local union labour force in the region.