Appalachian Basin

Energy Day: Natural Gas Usage

Energy Day took place last week in Scranton, Pennsylvania. The event was organized by America’s Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA), the Associated Petroleum Industries of PA (American Petroleum Institute, API), the Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC) and the Pennsylvania Independent Oil & Gas Association (PIOGA). The event was attended by over 300 individuals and representatives of 13 different Chambers of Commerce. W
e will be highlighting information from the event in a series of posts.

Natural gas has helped Pennsylvania’s economy tremendously, as we demonstrated in our previous post highlighting the state of the natural gas industry in Pennsylvania.  Natural gas usage has also been increasing dramatically throughout the region because its both clean and inexpensive. From consumers looking to heat their homes more efficiently to owners of motor vehicles and, especially, commercial truck fleets, the potential for increased usage is amazing.  We’ve only begun to take advantage of the resource and one of the Energy Day panels on Natural Gas Usage focused on just this point.

Paul Smith of ANGA began the panel discussion by reviewing the expansion of the pipeline system used to distribute natural gas in our region.  Why do we need more pipelines? There is a higher demand for natural gas across the country as its availability has increased and the economic and environmental benefits have become more widely known.  Conversions to natural gas power generation in our country are taking place at an astounding rate.

Tony Cox of UGI Energy spoke next.  UGI is the largest natural gas and electric distribution company in Pennsylvania.  Cox discussed combine heat power.  Combine heat power is a thermal electrical process that can be used in commercial applications.  It is a boiler powered by natural gas to create steam, spin a turbine, and create power.  This process has been around for a very long time and is becoming more efficient ; however, there’s still more efficiency to be gained.  That said, the process is the most efficient form of energy production utilized on a wide-scale.

Many colleges have CHP systems. For example, Penn State and Bucknell both have these systems in place.  Hospitals throughout Pennsylvania have begun transitioning to use CHP as well.

EnergyDayTruthWill Freeman with Chesapeake Energy spoke after Cox.  He discussed natural gas vehicles (NGV) and Chesapeake Energy.  Natural gas vehicles are growing as part of the nation’s vehicle fleet.  Natural gas utilization in vehicle fleets has increased steadily over the year with that latest example being United Parcel Service’s significant expansion of their NGV fleet.  While NGV expansion is growing significantly among fleet vehicles it has a ways to go to penetrate the personal vehicle market. The main problem in this regard being a lack of publicly available  fueling stations.  However, companies like Clean Energy Fuels, Chesapeake Energy, Royal Dutch Shell and others are continuing to expand the infrastructure for NGV’s which is helping lead to greater utilization of this technology.

Natural gas vehicles are becoming more popular and have fewer environmental impacts, but is natural gas as efficient as regular fuel?  Natural gas is actually more efficient than gasoline and it’s much cheaper. Learn about this and more in Freeman’s presentation below.

George Stark from Cabot Oil and Gas wrapped up the section of natural gas usage.  He discussed what’s going on in the natural gas industry and he mixed gas use and the supply chain of natural gas throughout his presentation.  Stark talked about Cabot’s successful program and their decision to locate their Marcellus development in Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania.  Cabot Oil and Gas uses natural gas in their drilling rigs and vehicles and the equipment is local!

The Energy Day was a huge success, jam packed with useful information. Be on the lookout for more from Energy Day in our next two posts on the Supply Chain and Pipelines.

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