A wholly-owned subsidiary of Range Resources Corporation has signed the first sales contract with Canadian based Nova Chemicals Corp to transport ethane from its Marcellus Shale prospect in southwestern Pennsylvania, US.

The moves comes after the conclusion of the binding open season of the Mariner West ethane pipeline project.

The pipeline is jointly developed by Sunoco Logistics Partners and MarkWest Liberty Midstream & Resources (MarkWest).

Under the contract, Sunoco Logistics will transport ethane through its Mariner West system from MarkWest’s processing and fractionation facilities in Pennsylvania to cater to the petrochemical market in Ontario, Canada.

Range Resources Corp chairman and CEO John Pinkerton said the contract will help the company to ramp up its Marcellus Shale development in the liquid-rich area of the play.

"Range is discussing potential sales arrangements with customers throughout North America, the United Kingdom and Europe," Pinkerton added.

The initial deliveries of ethane under contract are expected to commence in late 2013 with full delivery commencing in early 2014.

MarkWest is a partnership between MarkWest Energy Partners and The Energy & Minerals Group.