Cabot-sponsored University event brings citizens, gas producers, business community together: shortage of pipelines going north-to-south hurting Marcellus growth

“It is estimated about 25 to 30 percent of Marcellus wells drilled to date still do not have pipeline capacity,” said Marrara. “Current infrastructure is pointed in the wrong direction.”

From the Times-Leader

The natural gas industry has the potential to restore the state’s manufacturing sector, an official with the Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association said at an energy briefing at Misericordia University on Wednesday.

“Pennsylvania’s natural gas, manufacturing and petrol chemical industries can resurrect our existing brownfield sites, develop new manufacturing facilities and revitalize the infrastructure that we already have in place,” said Carl A. Marrara, vice president of government affairs for the manufacturers’ group. “The energy and the will are in force, but we must improve Pennsylvania’s underdeveloped infrastructure and non-competitive economic policies.”

Marrara’s idea was shared by a panel of gas industry experts that included Bill desRosiers, Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation; Abe Amorós, Laborers’ International Union of North America; Larry Godlasky, UGI Energy Services; Mike Atchie, of Williams energy; Chris McCue, Borton-Lawson; Philip Medico, Medico Industries; and Don Brominski, UGI Utilities.

The panelists participated in an energy briefing and breakfast called “Think About Energy” in the university’s Sandy and Marlene Insalaco Hall.

Cabot Oil & Gas sponsored the event as part of a four-year series to highlight the state’s natural gas industry and the economic opportunities it presents.

“The total natural gas demands are predicted to increase 40 percent over the next decade,” Marrara said.

However, the existing natural gas reserves are not making it to market because the state lacks a sufficient pipeline network.

“It is estimated about 25 to 30 percent of Marcellus wells drilled to date still do not have pipeline capacity,” said Marrara. “Current infrastructure is pointed in the wrong direction.”

Existing pipelines throughout the country are designed to transport natural gas from southern ports to the north, he said.

But Marcellus Shale development in Pennsylvania requires pipelines to carry gas from the north to the south.

After Marrara had left the podium, Wyoming County resident Dora Bennett stood up to address the nearly 70 people in attendance.

“A lot of you guys from Luzerne County don’t realize what Cabot and Williams and the gas industry has done for us,” she said. “There are six wells on my grandfather’s farm, but before Cabot came in my grandfather almost lost his farm and had nothing.”

“My grandfather just won Farmer of the Year — to us that is huge.”

Bennett, who also manages several locations for convenience store chain Pump N Pantry, said activity generated by Williams and Cabot created a spike in business at her stores. That led to a “hiring spree,” she said.

Atchie of Williams said his company is committed to local economic growth. It even created an app for pipeline employees to find local services such as gas stations, laundromats and restaurants.

The development of the natural gas industry also led to significant savings for UGI customers during one of the coldest winters on record, according to the utility’s Godlasky.

During the 2013-14 Polar Vortex, natural gas was trading in northeast Pennsylvania at $4 to $5 per thousand cubic feet, Godlasky said.

“There are some very congested parts of the natural gas transmission system in southeast Pennsylvania and New Jersey were some of the prices were in excess of $125 per thousand cubic feet,” he added.

If the PennEast Pipeline was built before the Polar Vortex, it could have saved nearly $900 million, Godlasky noted.

Legal Notice