Appalachian Basin

Pipelines 101: Digging into the Midstream

After traveling around Montrose and Dimock, I journeyed up to New Milford yesterday and caught a very informative presentation on pipelines — the essential infrastructure that makes the Marcellus Shale worth developing in the first place. From the presentation I learned these general principles about pipelines:


The pipeline’s initial purpose is to transport natural gas from well heads to gathering lines. Then the gathering lines come together and feed into a transmission line. Transmission lines are like super-highways for natural gas, moving it all over the state and even to other states. From the transmission lines, gas is then transferred to a distribution system which essentially delivers the gas to your house or business. Please refer to these documents from the Penn State Extension for more specific information on pipelines:

Negotiating Pipeline Rights-of-Way in Pennsylvania or Pipeline_May_2011 PDF


Pipelines are the most efficient way to transport large volumes of natural gas to market. Pipelines can maintain high volumes of pressure ensuring a constant supply of energy to consumers. This is comparable to the electricity transmission lines we see while driving down the street. This constant and very efficient transportation system is a very big reason why natural gas is as affordable as it is.

Environmental responsibility

Pipelines are buried under the ground — allowing vegetation to grow over them and migration paths for animals to be unobstructed. Quite quickly after their installation, any evidence of their existence begins to disappear immediately. Click here for a quick explanation of the double ditch method, a technique used during pipeline installation to ensure the same dirt and top soil is returned after pipeline completion.  Curious about the location of federally regulated pipelines? Check out the National Pipeline Mapping system, which will allow you see approximately the location of all federally regulated pipelines in the county.

Special thanks to the presenters — David Messermith, Mike Chilek, and attorney Stephen Saunders — for providing the audience with a balanced message regarding the importance and impact of pipeline development in the area. One final note: not a single person from the media attended this presentation. Maybe there wasn’t enough controversy over the truth about pipelines? But that’s for you to decide.

Below is a slideshow of last night,  if you are interested. As always, please tell us your thoughts and insights about this topic or any other topic we discuss on this site. If your interested in more information feel free to email me

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