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Williams Partners and Shell have announced their creation of a joint venture that will assist with gathering and processing gas in Northwest Pennsylvania. The JV, dubbed Three Rivers Midstream, will invest in wet-gas handling and dry gas infrastructure to service Marcellus and Utica operations. The goal is to create a major supply hub. 

Three Rivers Midstream has already entered into a long-term agreement for Shell's production in the region, which includes approximately 275,000 dedicated acres. The JV also plans to enter into gathering and processing agreements with other producers, including those in Northeast Ohio. This venture has the potential to give regional gas producers access to new markets. 

Shell’s continued ambivalence about building an ethane cracker plant in Western Pennsylvania has justifiably raised some concerns in the state. But this venture is further evidence of Shell’s, and the industry’s, bullish outlook with respect to shale development in the Western Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio.