PUC ups fine against UGI over fatal Allentown gas blast

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission on Thursday raised the financial penalty against UGI Utilities to the maximum $500,000 for the February 2011 natural gas explosion in Allentown that killed five people and leveled half a block. Under the original terms of the settlement, announced in October, UGI was to pay a $386,000 fine and speed up replacement of cast-iron pipes.



Cumberland County OKs $50K of Marcellus shale money for farm preservation; $350K on hold

Cumberland County commissioners voted 2-1 today to use $50,000 of its $400,000 in Marcellus shale funding for the county's farmland preservation program. Before the commissioners hand over the remaining $350,000 to the Land Partnership Grants Program, they want to review the program's operational guidelines to verify that it's a fit for Marcellus shale funding, said Stephanie Williams, the county's greenway and open spaces coordinator.



ABCD, chamber host gas seminar

Opportunities exist for area businesses to get a piece of the pie in the natural gas industry in Pennsylvania. "We are trying to educate and inform local companies so they are aware of the activities that are around and what they can do to become part of the play," said Martin J. Marasco, president and CEO of Altoona-Blair County Development Corp. Tuesday at a natural gas business development seminar at the Blair County Convention Center.



Company picks route for Constitution Pipeline

The Constitution Pipeline Co. selected a proposed route for a new pipeline, one it will pitch to federal regulators. The transmission line would transport natural gas from Susquehanna County to New England. After a year of soliciting input from landowners and stakeholders, Constitution tweaked about half of the originally proposed route, said project manager Matt Swift in a statement.



Leasehold acquisition: The first step of natural gas extraction

There are many aspects of the natural gas industry that makes it extremely interesting. The technology to know where and how to drill for natural gas and the sophisticated equipment used makes the industry a fascinating one to witness. However, none of that would have been possible in the Marcellus Shale region without first acquiring the right to do so from individual landowners via leasing.



Fracking for natural gas being powered by it, too

Advances in hydraulic fracturing technology have powered the American natural gas boom. And now hydraulic fracturing could be increasingly powered by the very fuel it has been so successful in coaxing up from the depths. Oil- and gas-field companies from Pennsylvania to Texas are experimenting with converting the huge diesel pump engines that propel millions of gallons of water, sand and chemicals thousands of feet down well bores to break apart rock or tight sands and release the natural gas trapped inside.



Bi-fuel vehicles gaining speed

Detroit is beginning to produce vehicles that can run on both natural gas and regular gasoline. Anyone who has natural gas service in their home can tap off the same gas line to gas up their vehicle - at least until more commercial natural gas stations are established. Those facts make shale natural gas even more important to states that can produce it.



Dandy Mini Marts' Field of Gas Dreams

In the backyard of the Marcellus Shale natural gas formation, another petroleum retailer is entering the natural gas business. This Friday, Dandy Mini Marts is debuting its first compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling location in a grand opening at its Towanda, Pa., c-store, with local dignitaries and industry representatives in attendance. The site - said to be the first public CNG fueling site in Northern Pennsylvania - has been open for the past month, with a second site under construction in Sayre, Pa., due to open around the beginning of March, and third location slated for Elmira, N.Y.



IGS Energy to build natural gas stations on Interstate 79

IGS Energy says it will build and operate a $10 million network of compressed natural gas fueling stations for vehicles along Interstate 79 from Charleston, W.Va., to Mount Morris in Greene County. The plan the Ohio-based company announced Thursday calls for stations in Bridgeport, Charleston and Jane Lew, along with the one in southwest Pennsylvania.



Cleaner Steam Heat

The Center City steam loop, source of the Dickensian sidewalk vapor clouds that have warmed the soles of generations of pedestrians, does not normally evoke images of a modern energy system. But in the last two years, the system's owner, Veolia Energy, has quietly upgraded its century-old power plant in Grays Ferry to reposition the nation's third-largest district heating system as an environmentally friendly energy source. Veolia is calling it "green steam."