Natural Gas: Delay of pipelines is costing region money
There is more natural gas being produced from the Marcellus and Utica shales than is necessary to meet the demand in the regions to which that gas is easily transported. It is a problem that has been apparent for quite some time to those living in the regions — including the Mid-Ohio Valley — where the promised natural gas boom has stalled.
During the Shale Insight Conference in Pittsburgh last week, the leaders of energy companies that would benefit from getting that gas to the markets where there is a great demand for fuel made a pitch for more pipelines to alleviate the problem.
“We must continue to invest in the necessary infrastructure to transport oil and natural gas to markets more quickly,” said XTO Energy President Sara Ortwein, according to a report in the Pittsburgh Business Times.
“The Northeast has been particularly hard hit by pipeline delays, and consumers and businesses are paying high prices for natural gas despite abundant domestic supplies,” Ortwein said.
Some of the holdup comes from prohibitive regulatory environments. Some comes from lawsuits filed by residents or environmentalists. All of it keeps those living above some of the richest deposits of cleaner-burning natural gas in the world — us — from realizing the full benefits of the treasure beneath our feet. It is keeping us from jobs, severance taxes, infrastructure improvements and an opportunity to revitalize and transition our economy; while it keeps some parts of the country from making the transition away from coal-fired power plants that so many of those same environmentalists have been screeching for.
“Key pipelines are needed now,” said Chevron Appalachia President Stacey Olson, according to the Pittsburgh Business Times.
Lawmakers and regulators must do everything in their power to eliminate the obstacles keeping that from happening. The longer these pipelines are delayed, the greater the chance we will watch yet another economic opportunity pass us by.