Propane arrives in nick of time

LISBON – An emergency shipment of home heating fuel arrived in Columbiana County earlier this week, made available by operators of one of the area’s new natural gas processing plants.

County commissioners on Wednesday approved sending a letter thanking Eric Mize of M3 Midstream for coordinating efforts to provide more than 8,000 gallons of propane from the natural gas liquid fractionation, storage and rail complex in Harrison County.

Mize stepped forward after learning Monday that the Saline Oil Co. had run out of propane and the next shipment was not due to arrive until today. The company serves 400 residential customers in the Salineville-Summitville section of the county, about 15 of whom had less than a 5 percent supply, which is considered critical stage.

County Emergency Management Agency Director Luke Newbold said he was speaking Monday about the propane shortage with his counterpart in Carroll County, portions of which are also served by Saline Oil. The Carroll County EMA director contacted Mize, who is the emergency preparedness/public awareness manager for M3, also known as Momentum.

M3 is one of the partners that formed Utica East Ohio Midstream, a joint venture that consists of the facility in Scio in Harrison County and the gas collection and processing plant located near Kensington.

Newbold said the emergency shipment of gas arrived Monday night, and Mize is making up to six truckloads of propane available daily from the Scio plant for local distributors until the crisis passes.

“This should take care of it, but everyone is still worried,” he said, “but they’re definitely out of critical stage.”

The extremely cold weather has increased demand for propane and other home heating fuel and suppliers are having difficulty keeping up, creating a shortage. “This isn’t just in Ohio. It’s a nationwide problem,” Newbold said.

Commissioners were certainly appreciative of Mize’s efforts. “You were notified of the situation and quickly coordinated a delivery of propane from the Scio plant with no questions asked within just a few hours to remedy an emergency situation,” they wrote in their thank-you letter.