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PennEast pipeline would be boon, study contends

A new study shows natural gas consumers in eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey could have saved more than $890 million last winter if the PennEast pipeline had been in place.

However, that excludes customers from Northeast Pennsylvania, a spokesman for the company says.

The approximately 114-mile, 36-inch diameter PennEast Pipeline will begin at a site off Hildebrandt Road in Dallas Twp. and run to Mercer County, New Jersey. The project is a joint venture among UGI Energy Services, AGL Resources, New Jersey Resources, Public Service Enterprise Group and South Jersey Industries.

The study, commissioned by PennEast and prepared by Concentric Energy Advisors, was released during a teleconference Tuesday morning.

Focused on 2013-14

It focused on the winter of 2013-14, which, “with its relatively severe and prolonged cold, and resulting high levels of demand for natural gas from local natural gas distribution companies, industrial customers and electric generators, resulted in extremely volatile pricing and significantly higher natural gas prices in the U.S. Northeast than had ever been previously experienced,” according to the report.

Concentric compared prices of gas from the Gulf Coast with prices of gas from the Marcellus Shale supplied through the Transco pipeline’s Leidy line.

If the PennEast pipeline had been built, eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey could have saved a total of $531 million in electricity generation and $361 million in consumer use.

One of the criticisms area opponents of the project have is that the PennEast pipeline will not benefit Northeast Pennsylvania.

Peter Terranova, chairman of the PennEast Pipeline board of managers, said the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area has already benefited greatly from several other pipeline projects, including the Auburn line, which feeds natural gas from Susquehanna County into the UGI distribution system.

“I think that area is well out ahead in benefiting from low-cost Marcellus gas,” he said.

Mr. Terranova said the PennEast pipeline is “an extension of what has happened in the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre area,” which will benefit areas to the south and east.

In a prepared statement, New Jersey Sierra Club director Jeff Tittel criticized the report as “hot air.”

“The consumer savings are false assumptions since the price of natural gas is set by the overall market, not just in one area,” he stated. “There will not be a reduction in price since natural gas is a commodity and the price is set nationally.”

Mr. Tittel also pointed out that the Concentric study did not take into account other pipelines coming online that will bring gas to the region.

The PennEast pipeline is still in the information-gathering stage. Plans are to submit a formal application to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission some time this summer. Depending on when the federal agency approves the project, construction could start in 2017 and be ready to serve customers by fall of that year.

In related news, PennEast natural gas pipeline may run past Bethlehem’s water supply.

This article was written by Elizabeth Skrapits from The Citizens’ Voice, Wilkes-Barre, Pa. and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

4 comments

  1. Oh darn, sucks to be them, let them keep fighting it and let them pay higher prices

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