The United States is the world’s leader in natural gas production, ahead of Russia, Qatar and Iran. The natural gas reserves in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale now lead the country. Natural gas use in the United States also has increased steadily since the first interstate pipelines were built in the 1950s to bring natural gas from production fields along the U.S. Gulf coast to growing populations, including the northeast United States.
Shale gas has had a dramatic impact on natural gas prices, with average prices today more than 60 percent below what they were in 2008. The shift in production from the Gulf Coast to Marcellus Shale also has produced major regional price differences; including local price differences across the relatively short distance that would be covered by PennEast Pipeline.
A March Concentric analysis confirms that natural gas consumers – electric and gas customers – in eastern Pennsylvania and in New Jersey are missing a prime opportunity to save hundreds of millions on energy costs; however, Appalachian shale gas’ lower cost benefits can only be realized if the infrastructure is in place to allow the gas to move.
The PennEast Pipeline partners and its other shippers understand the benefits of bringing local gas supplies to the region, as they and their companies directly serve markets in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York. The PennEast Pipeline is being built to produce long-term annual savings by reducing electric and natural gas costs for households and businesses. The availability of affordable energy will make our region more attractive to energy-intensive businesses and their well-paying jobs. Lower energy costs also will increase every family’s disposable income and every business owner’s operating budget.
During construction, thousands of jobs will be created. Hundreds of millions of dollars will be infused into local economies via labor income and materials; a total construction economic impact of approximately $1.6 billion will be realized.
The U.S. Government anticipates that over the next 25 years, natural gas and renewables will supply an increasing share of U.S electric generation. During this time, greenhouse gas emissions remain below 2005 levels due to continued conservation and efficiency improvements in end-use applications, and the increasing share of natural gas and renewables in place of more carbon-intensive fuels, such as coal and oil.
Given this outlook, PennEast member companies continue to invest in renewable energy sources, alongside natural gas – from Public Service Electric and Gas Company’s ranking as one of the top 10 U.S. utilities for integrated solar capacity to UGI Energy Services’ construction of multiple solar power projects. PennEast partners are also promoting energy conservation initiatives, ranging from AGL Resources’ energySMART program to NJR Pipeline Company’s sister company, New Jersey Natural Gas’ “Conserve to Preserve” initiative that’s helping customers reduce their natural gas usage by 271 million therms, save $278 million in costs, and at the same time, prevent the release of nearly 3.2 billion pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
It is impossible to place a dollar value on the well-being of the communities in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, which is where the PennEast partners, their families and friends also live and work. Safe construction and operation of the pipeline is the highest priority of the PennEast partners, and PennEast is committed to meeting or exceeding industry and government safety standards.
That commitment to safety starts with the pipeline design and construction, which will include the use of high-strength steel pipe. The pipeline will be inspected using x-ray technology and pressure-testing of the welds prior to placing the line into service. Once operational, PennEast employees will monitor the system 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Since announcing the PennEast project 11 months ago, PennEast has engaged in a rigorous — and voluntary — “pre-filing” process with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to prepare for filing a formal application in third quarter 2015. PennEast has made every effort to respond to the community’s questions and incorporate stakeholders’ constructive feedback to balance the most direct pipeline route with numerous environmental, structural, conservation, and land-use factors. The goal of PennEast is – and always has been – to minimize impact to communities and the environment while safely building a critical piece of domestic energy infrastructure.
American energy contributes so much to American life – warmth for our children’s baths, electricity for our microwaves, lights and televisions, and so many important things upon which we have come to rely. Our commitment to a better way of living focuses our attention on safety and reliability. We’re part of this community, and we’re here for the long haul.
Learn more about the PennEast Pipeline at www.penneastpipeline.com.
Chairman, PennEast Pipeline Board of Managers