Pipelines are essential to transporting natural gas from its source to multiple end-user destinations.  Although Pennsylvania has long had a rather large network of mid to large size gas gathering and transmission lines fed by the 60,000 traditional vertical gas wells, many of the Marcellus horizontal wells are located in areas with no appreciable existing pipeline infrastructure.

New pipelines have been built and others are in the planning and development stages to bring this new gas to markets around the nation. Natural gas “gathering lines” are pipelines used to transport natural gas from a production facility to a transmission line, and are categorized in the oil and natural gas industry as “midstream” operations.

Natural Gas Gathering Lines
Source:  Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

Pipelines are the safest and most environmentally friendly way of reliably delivering the energy Americans use every day. Pipelines reduce the utilization of more carbon-intensive modes of transportation making them the most environmentally friendly way to move energy resources from producing regions like Pennsylvania, to consumers. Pipelines reduce congestion on highways, railroads, and other shipping networks which contribute to GHG emissions reductions in the transportation sector. Pipelines are essential to enabling US LNG exports which drive environmental progress in countries around the world by enabling them, like the United States, to transition to natural gas power generation.

While pipelines are the safest means to transport oil and natural gas, the industry is committed to continually growing and advancing safety. And indeed, pipelines are getting even safer. Using the latest technologies, pipeline operators can detect leaks before they occur, protecting our communities and environment. Pipeline safety improved last year and over the last 5 years even with the challenges that the pandemic has provided. According to the 2020 Liquid Pipeline Safety Excellence Performance Report (API/AOPL), performance improved across nearly every metric.

And pipeline construction supports thousands of jobs in the Commonwealth and has injected billions into our local economies in recent years. According to two studies released in July by North America’s Building Trade Unions, union and nonunion workers alike said natural gas and oil projects provide wages and benefits that make the American Dream a reality. Tradespeople overwhelmingly report that they consider projects in natural gas and oil to have higher wages, better benefits, and greater career opportunities than other energy sectors. Better pay and career stability translate into an improved quality of life for workers, their families, and the communities in which they live.

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