Friday, May 9, 2008


There has been a lot of discussion recently about natural gas reserves in NEPA. Basically, energy companies are drilling for natural gas reserves in our area. With energy prices being what they are, this should come as no surprise. Quite frankly, I am happy to see the industry here as it shows a growing trend of relying on domestic sources for energy instead of importing energy from countries that otherwise hate us.

The process involves companies that will come in, either lease or purchase land that might contain hydrocarbon reserves, perform environmental and geological tests to determine if they can drill for hydrocarbons if they are found, and extract the deposits and deliver them to the market. When complete, they promise to return the property to pristine condition.

The Citizen's Voice had an article that talked about the benefits to the local economy with this relatively new industry. That is, besides the obvious benefit of taking unused property and making a profit on it.

Pennsylvania has a long history in the energy industry. Pennsylvania is the leading petroleum refining state in the Northeast. Pennsylvania’s infrastructure affords it with one of the highest natural gas storage capacities in the nation. Pennsylvania was also home to the world’s first commercial oil well which was the Drake Well in Titusville. Pennsylvania was also the place where the world’s first oil boom occurred.

What seems to hamper the extraction of energy from Pennsylvania is the lack of pipelines to move the fuel once it is extracted. There is a pipeline that runs along the top of NEPA but if we are going to get serious about energy in Pennsylvania, we need to make an Eastern expansion on the Rockies Express Pipeline and move forward on the proposed liquefied natural gas terminal in Logan Township, NJ.

This industry is growing very quickly. Since 2001, nearly 10,000 new natural gas wells have been created in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania has an 11% share of the wells in the country. This doesn’t even go into the alternative energy sources being developed here. Pennsylvania has the ability to be a leader in domestic energy production. Let’s hope our elected officials don’t screw it up!

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