Natural gas from next door Susquehanna County now heats homes and fuels businesses in Scranton thanks to fracking and the Marcellus Shale.
The benefits of natural gas development keep piling on for Northeastern Pennsylvania and regions well beyond, the latest proof coming from a revealing article by Brendan Gibbons in the Wilkes-Barre based Citizens Voice.
Here are some key excerpts from the story:
When temperatures dipped and Scranton residents switched on their natural gas heat this week, that fuel came straight from Susquehanna County.
UGI Energy Services Inc. recently completed its Union Dale Pipeline project, about six miles of 12-inch diameter pipeline that connects Marcellus Shale gas from Clifford Township to the UGI Penn Natural Gas system in Union Dale.
The new pipe can deliver up to 100 million cubic feet per day to the UGI Penn system. That’s enough to serve almost 518,000 homes, according to use estimates by the American Gas Association.
In Wyoming County, UGI Energy Services added three new compressors to the Manning Compressor Station in Washington Township, plus a new interconnection facility.
These added 50 million cubic feet to its Auburn Gathering System, which delivers gas from Susquehanna County north to the interstate Tennessee Gas Pipeline and south to the Wilkes-Barre area and the interstate Transco Pipeline, which runs through Luzerne County.
“These two projects are cheaper transportation alternatives than what was previously used,” UGI Energy Services director of midstream business development Kevin Kelleher said…
Across the state, UGI Utilities now draws 80 percent of their supply from shale gas, he said. This has allowed them to charge rates consistently 30 percent lower than in 2008, he said. Over five years, they’ve added 45,000 new customers, he said. Those converting from fuel oil save roughly $1,500 a year, he said…
Cabot is the sole supplier on the Union Dale project. The company has become the largest producer in Susquehanna County and consistently operates some of the most productive wells in the state. It’s a major supplier on the Auburn system that feeds Wilkes-Barre, but not the only one, Kelleher said.
Kelleher said it took several years for exploration and production companies, including Cabot, to prove significant, economically recoverable reserves lay below Susquehanna County…
Cabot does plenty of business locally, and its tenacious outreach and charitable efforts — including a $2.5 million donation to Lackawanna College — are solidifying its local presence and possibly developing new markets for its product.
When Kelleher [and Cabot representatives] Stark and desRosiers think about the business opportunities dedicated natural gas service presents the Lackawanna and Wyoming valleys, they’re thinking of people like Joe Shea.
Shea is president of North American Manufacturing Inc. on Barring Avenue in Scranton. His plant employs about 50 people making cots and backpacks for the U.S. military. He’s been in business since 1976.
Natural gas heats his 80,000-square-foot facility and fuels the bake ovens on his powder coating line, he said. He’s a UGI customer and estimates he saves about 65 percent on his gas bills since the shale gas boom.
“It’s so low from what it used to be 10 years ago,” he said. “It’s like nothing now.”
UGI Energy Services is always seeking to connect natural gas to large-scale customers, such as manufacturers, who can get rates lower than residential customers, Kelleher said.
Stark pointed out the assets Scranton and Wilkes-Barre can use to attract more Joe Sheas and larger manufacturers.
One is a large, blue-collar work force.
Another is its proximity to transportation, including the rail line that runs down the cities’ spines and the interstate systems that weave together in the region.
Cheap energy is the most recent development.
“That was the missing piece,” he said.
The news doesn’t get much better than this. It illustrates the shale revolution in the best way possible – with real world evidence of what’s happening and how the world has been changed by it for the better. There’s just one question to be asked and it is this:
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