17 greenfield pipeline projects planned for the Marcellus

Steel pipes
Source: DollarPhotoClub

The supply glut that depressed natural gas prices in Pennsylvania may be eased in the coming years when as many as 17 pipeline projects meant to ship about 17.3 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas out of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio come online – the portal Power Source reports.

The shale gas revolution changed dramatically the pipeline landscape of the U.S. Traditionally pipelines flowed from conventional gas and oil production areas in the south to the end users in the north. The development of the Marcellus and Utica shales changed that with large amounts of natural gas needing to be transported from the wells in the Appalachian Basin.

This initially led to small-scale projects aiming to improve access to interstate pipelines as well as adding compression to allow more gas to flow through the steel or modifying existing pipelines. Then came projects to reverse the flow of pipelines as Pennsylvania natural gas drilling outpaced that of other parts of the country.

What differs the current situation from these early initiatives is that now the drive is towards building huge, multi-million dollar projects that – unlike their predecessors – are not modifying existing infrastructure, but creating brand new pipeline networks where there were none before.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime construction cycle,” Mihoko Manabe, senior vice president at Moody’s Investor Services, told Power Source. “Once the infrastructure is built, the activity will die down. That’s why there is so much frenetic activity in pipeline development.”

“If you don’t seize the moment now, a competing pipeline will build the way out.”

“The scale is significant in terms of the country’s natural gas infrastructure,” she added.

“The Marcellus is re-plumbing the gas flows of the eastern half of the U.S. in a big way,” Ms. Manabe said.

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