Appalachian Basin

Susquehanna County Joins 50,000 Pennsylvanians in Switching to Natural Gas

Last week, for the first time in Susquehanna County’s history, landowners there were given the ability to utilize a natural resource they have been developing in the area for years.  Through the efforts of Leatherstocking Gas Company, natural gas is now being used at Pennsy Supply in Montrose to make asphalt.  I had the opportunity to attend the ribbon cutting ceremony where representatives from Williams Midstream and Cabot Oil and Gas were also present.  Others in attendance included State Representative Tina Pickett and State Senator Gene Yaw.

Leatherstocking is a gas distribution company comprised of a partnership between Corning Natural Gas Corporation and Mirabito Energy Services.  They normally conduct business in New York servicing urban markets such as Binghamton, Utica, Syracuse, Oneonta and Albany, but the company viewed the Susquehanna County market as a place where they could expand and continue to meet their business objectives:

Giving Jobs Back

Leatherstocking team with local worker

According to Joe Mirabito of Leatherstocking, it was made mandatory for natural gas to be available for use by the plant before it was able to be constructed.  He went on to say that this project was supported by local and state representatives.

Representative Tina Pickett also had great things to say about the project:

Through the aid of Williams Midstream’s already existing pipeline infrastructure in the area they were able to utilize the gas locally.   Currently a majority of the gas developed in Susquehanna County is piped out of the area and into the New York City, Albany and Boston markets. The hope for operators in the area is to begin to bring natural gas infrastructure locally to counties like Susquehanna over the next year.  Having the local market so close to development will mean huge energy savings for the local community.

Leatherstocking sign

Natural gas station for Pennsy Supply

Wood, Oil and Now Natural Gas

We are beginning to see more infrastructure for natural gas and with that new infrastructure we also begin see lower energy costs for consumers.  Pennsy Supply, with their most recent use of natural gas for instance, will begin to see an energy cost reduction in the thousands of dollars.  UGI, another gas distribution company with similar goals to Leatherstocking, has been working to increase their capabilities to deliver natural gas to homes and businesses, including in the Luzerne County area and by becoming a partner on the Commonwealth pipeline.  More natural gas means more savings.

Allen Westbrook, VP Marketing, April 2012 Testimony at Senator Yaw’s Natural Gas Extension Services Public Hearing

According to UGI, the company has, over the last ten years, added 50,000 customers, who have consisted predominantly of people who changed their residential heating over to natural gas.

Demand for natural gas service has never been higher.  We have a direct overlap of our service area and Marcellus Shale and view it as critical to our customers.

Most residential customers are ditching heating oil, a move that saves the average household about $1,200 annually in fuel costs, he said. Assuming a furnace costs about $4,000 to $5,000, the investment in new equipment could pay off in savings in four years. If a household does not have gas service, the cost of installing a lateral line from the street would add to the cost, however.

John Walsh, President and Chief Operating Officer of UGI Corp

Let’s think about that statistic; 50,000 people say yes to natural gas and its uses.  That seems like a lot more than the 1,200 who oppose development in New York, yet many of whom use the resource.  It sure seems like they are and will continue to be a distinct minority in this debate.

1,200 New Yorkers?  How about the thousands who use natural gas?

We will need more infrastructure to move the resource to market as we continue to develop natural gas in northeastern Pennsylvania.   With companies like Williams Midstream, Leatherstocking and UGI working together, more people everyday will have the ability to enjoy natural gas.


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