US gas processor MarkWest Energy Partners has announced that it plans to invest approximately $60 million to expand nearly all of its plants in the Appalachian region.

The firm currently owns four natural gas processing plants and the Siloam fractionation and storage facility, all of which are located in Kentucky and West Virginia. The expansion includes replacing its existing Boldman and Cobb processing plants with cryogenic processing facilities.

The new plants will increase the combined processing capacity at the two locations from 75 million cubic feet per day (mcf/d) to 95mcf/d and will increase the production of natural gas liquids from 70,000 gallons per day to over 180,000 gallons per day.

MarkWest will also modify the Kenova processing plant for greater propane recovery to increase production by approximately 10,000 gallons per day. To support the processing plant expansions, it will invest approximately $20 million to increase the capacity at its Siloam fractionation facility from 600,000 gallons per day to approximately 900,000 gallons per day.

Frank Semple, president and CEO, said: We are very pleased to announce this significant investment in the Appalachia region. These expansions will result in a substantial increase in operating income for the partnership, and allow us to continue serving the growing needs of the producers in this prolific basin.