Experts: Pipelines needed to get gas to market

June 14, 2017

In order for Pennsylvania Marcellus Shale gas to be an asset, pipelines have to be built to get the gas to market, people in the industry say.

Pennsylvanians don’t have to worry, however, as selling the gas out of state won’t diminish its supply to state residents because there is so much gas, they said.

U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, R-11, Hazleton, said there are 1,000 wells in the Marcellus Shale that aren’t being tapped because the gas has no way to get to market.

But industry experts who gathered at Capriotti’s in Banks Twp. for the Manufacturers and Employers Association of Northeastern Pennsylvania’s recent Keystone Energy Forum said it may not be long before those wells are turned on, because some of those pipelines have been or will be built in the near future.

Matt Carmichael, director of government relations for Southwestern Energy, the third-largest natural gas producer in the United States whose job it is to drill the wells, said the wells are drilled but the pipelines are needed to use the wells to their fullest advantage.

“The big difference in what the Gulf Coast has that we don’t have here is pipeline infrastructure, the ability to get those molecules (gas) to market,” he said. “I think if we can find a way to get more of these Atlantic Sunrise-type projects in the ground, we will have more economic development opportunities. You factor that with an able, willing and more-than-capable workforce and workforce training programs, it’s a natural progression of the Marcellus Shale and the resource that we have literally under our feet.”

Atlantic Sunrise is a pipeline project being built by the Williams Companies, which owns and has operated the Transcontinental, or Transco, pipeline bringing gas to the Northeast from the Gulf for almost 60 years.

Mike Atchie, public outreach for the Williams Companies, said Atlantic Sunrise will connect to Transco and create the ability to send gas both ways in the Transco pipeline and also to send Marcellus Shale gas to large Northeastern markets.

“You can see the decline in production,” Atchie said. “Part of that is because of the lack of pipelines to get those molecules (gas) to market. The Marcellus Shale wells coming online are significant. There is a great deal of gas that can be produced that can change the whole dynamic of how we move energy in the U.S.

“Instead of moving all of the gas up from the southwest part of the country feeding the Northeast, we have Pennsylvania gas right under our feet that can serve the huge markets like New York City. We’re seeing increased demand in Virginia, D.C., and the Carolinas, transitioning over from electric generation..."

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