PennEast Nov. 20 Week In Review

November 20, 2016


A Recap of PennEast and Important Natural Gas News

This week PennEast member company UGI Energy Services reiterated PennEast’s commitment to safety at Wednesday’s joint Pennsylvania House and Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness committee hearing. UGI Energy Services’ Pam Witmer cited the many safety measures that are incorporated into the design of transmission pipelines; including conducting an X-ray of all welds, a hydrostatic pressure test, 24/7 monitoring and much more. Learn more about PennEast’s commitment to safety.

Meanwhile, speaking at the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners Annual Conference, Larry Godlasky, also of PennEast member company UGI Energy Services, discussed the synergies between natural gas and renewable generation. “We’re seeing a significant shift to natural gas in the nation’s power sector – balancing this demand with other natural gas consumers underscores the need for projects like the PennEast Pipeline. Alongside natural gas generation, we’re also seeing considerable new renewable generation. And there’s no fuel better suited to back up renewable sources — when the sun doesn’t shine in the wind doesn’t blow — than natural gas.” said Godlasky.
On that note, this week “one of the cleanest natural gas-fueled power plants in the nation” was commissioned in Lycoming County, Pa. Panda Power Funds’ 829-megawatt combined-cycle “Patriot” generating station “will produce about 60 percent less carbon dioxide than a comparably sized coal-fired facility, or the equivalent of taking approximately 350,000 cars off the road for an entire year.”
Natural gas is a versatile fuel. Not only does it fuel our electric grid and new power plants like Patriot, but also our cars and trucks. And motorists in Scranton may soon be able to fill their tanks with natural gas as the Times-Tribune reports this week that a proposed natural gas fueling station is moving a little closer to reality. This new station would join the growing list of 43 public compressed natural gas fueling stations located throughout Pennsylvania.

From the transportation sector to the electric sector, and from use by homes, schools, hospitals and so many more, domestic and worldwide natural gas consumption is forecast to continue to rise. The International Energy Agency’s (IEA) 2016 World Energy Outlook was released this week, and the Agency foresees a 1.5% annual growth rate in natural gas demand. “Given the economics natural gas can provide for the energy system, whatever policy we have, natural gas always comes out one of the big winners,” IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said.

Finally, as we celebrate Thanksgiving this week, many families will likely cap their meals with a pumpkin pie, pumpkin roll or whipped pumpkin dip (recipe). In that spirit, this week’s news brings an unlikely comparison from Reporter Meagan Parrish compares the innovation around growing pumpkins to the innovation in oil and natural gas extraction.

While an unusual comparison, Parrish explains that in the 1990s a pumpkin that was considered “big” weighed about 500 pounds. By 2014, growers were managing to produce pumpkins well over 2,300 pounds. In the oil and natural gas industry, similar advancements over the last 20 years have been realized.

Over the last two decades, lessons learned in horizontal drilling, hydraulic fracturing and expertise in shale gas formations have resulted in total U.S. natural gas production climbing from 23.7 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) in 1995 to nearly 33 Tcf in 2015 – a nearly 40 percent increase.

Taking advantage of robust U.S. production to deliver low-cost natural gas is just one of the many reasons behind the PennEast Pipeline Project.

Read these and other stories below:

State lawmakers discuss ways to improve pipeline safety
“When everything’s going good, we all forget about it, but infrastructure is something we have to look at constantly,” said Sen. Randy Vulakovich (R- Allegheny), who chairs the Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness committee.

Panda Power Funds Commissions Nation’s Second Marcellus Shale-Gas Power Plant
Officials from across Pennsylvania joined Panda Power Funds today to commission the company’s 829-megawatt combined-cycle “Patriot” generating station located in Lycoming County. The Patriot project is only the second power plant in the nation, after Panda’s “Liberty” Pennsylvania power project, specifically sited to access large natural gas reserves discovered in the Marcellus Shale.

World Energy Outlook 2016 sees broad transformations in the global energy landscape
As a result of major transformations in the global energy system that take place over the next decades, renewables and natural gas are the big winners in the race to meet energy demand growth until 2040, according to the latest edition of the World Energy Outlook, the International Energy Agency’s flagship publication.

Natural gas demand will outpace other fossil fuels, IEA says
Demand for natural gas will grow faster than for coal or oil over the next quarter-century…there’s a “very strong case” for gas as a “relatively clean and flexible source of energy” especially for countries such as the U.S. that have significant resources easily accessible.

It’s Official: Falling Carbon Emissions In US Have Little To Do With EPA Regulations
Scientists found that American carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions fell again for the third straight year because of hydraulic fracturing — or “fracking” — and not environmental regulations, according to new data. Early projections from researchers at the Global Carbon Project found that global emissions will only rise by about 0.2 percent relative to last year, largely because U.S. CO2 emissions declined by 2.6 percent in 2015 and are expected to fall an additional 1.7 percent this year. This dramatic shift can be mostly attributed to fracking.

COLTS moves ahead with natural gas station (Times-Tribune)
A proposed compressed natural gas station in the Keyser Valley moved a bit closer to reality Tuesday. The County of Lackawanna Transit System board voted 3-0 with two members absent to authorize buying 2 acres of land and paying for an easement necessary for the station near the headquarters off North Keyser Avenue.

Pipeline should not affect local hunting
“…There are some very positive hunting-related things that happen when a pipeline goes through the area… The work of the pipeline crew followed by proper seeding and plantings had turned the openings into huge food plots feeding the deer, turkey and other wildlife with a source of food not often seen in the big woods areas of Pennsylvania…”

Brunell: Putting Americans back to work is Job No. 1
Fracking is the process of unlocking oil and gas from shale deposits and other formations deep underground. Through watery injections and horizontal drilling far below the groundwater table, we have unlocked enough oil and gas to become the world’s top oil and gas producer. It is bringing good jobs and prosperity to towns across America. Thanks to fracking along the Marcellus and Utica Shale Plays, Pennsylvania is now the third largest producer of natural gas in the nation.

Why The Fracking Industry Is A Lot Like Growing Giant Pumpkins
Although it doesn’t seem like the most likely link, the situation looks a lot like what happened to pumpkin growers in the 1990s. Back then, a pumpkin that was considered “big” weighed about 500 pounds. Then, the Internet came along and growers began sharing information about which seeds worked best under which conditions, etc. By 2014, growers were managing to produce pumpkins well over 2,300 pounds.