Appalachian Basin

Marcellus Connects Pennsylvania with Economic Freedom

In recent weeks it has become nearly impossible to deny that the safe and responsible development of natural gas from shale basins across the country, including the Marcellus, is providing strong benefits to individuals, communities and entire regional economies.   From employing hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanian’s, to saving consumers hundreds of dollars, and reviving the nation’s long beleaguered manufacturing sector the benefits are  making it increasingly difficult for anti-natural gas interests to advance a narrative that production is detrimental to anything other than their own agenda. Now these benefits will continue for months and years as UGI customers in Pennsylvania will enjoy the benefits of the region’s first direct “interconnect” pipeline.

Adding to this ever growing list of successes, Pennsylvanian’s who are already experiencing record declines in natural gas prices, totaling nearly thirty percent in the past three years for UGI customers,  can expect this phenomenon to increase substantially in coming years.  This is made possible by the opening of  the direct”interconnect” pipeline that will provide natural gas from the Marcellus Shale directly to nearly 15,000 UGI customers in Tioga, Bradford and Potter Counties.   Previously  natural gas customers in Pennsylvania received their gas supplies from sources as far away as the Gulf Coast and Canada.  Now they are able to use natural gas that in some cases is literally coming from their backyards.

This development will likely have a dramatic impact on natural gas prices in the Commonwealth as it will significantly cut the cost of transporting natural gas to the end user.  John Hanger, former Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection, laid this out in very clear terms on his blog in a succinct post earlier this week.

This project will reduce gas bills, because traditionally transportation costs of bringing gas from Canada, Alaska, or the Gulf Coast could be 30% of a total gas bill.  Transportation cost savings will be increasing as more of the Marcellus gas avoids or limits the use of interstate pipelines and goes directly to Pennsylvania customers.

Hanger would continue to put into perspective the economic and energy freedom that Marcellus Shale development is providing to Pennsylvanian’s regardless of race, class or creed.

The gas transportation cost savings will be added to the approximately 70% reduction in the spot market price of gas from July 2008 to now that the surge of shale gas has yielded.

In summation, responsible development of the Marcellus Shale is not only lowering the wholesale price of natural gas but is now erasing thirty percent of the overall cost to consumers.  One can easily see how such an asset can easily transform the landscape in the Commonwealth by increasing economic development through attracting new business, growing existing businesses, and perhaps laying the foundation for new uses of this homegrown resource like the adoption of natural gas vehicles and fueling stations. All thanks to the availability of a stable and affordable supply of clean burning natural gas.

A well known environmental saying asks individuals to “think globally and act locally”.  Clearly responsible development of the Marcellus Shale is transforming the global energy picture while providing tremendous benefits to local residents in the heart of one of the nation’s most burgeoning shale plays.


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