March 3, 2016

Lack of Natural Gas Pipelines Cited for Decreased Drilling in Ohio

The Akron Beacon Journal’s editorial board recently weighed in on the state of natural gas pipelines in the region, noting that low prices has not reduced the need for expanded energy infrastructure.

Indeed, experts looking at the oil and gas industry have identified a lack of pipelines as a factor driving the decrease in drilling. Without the ability to transport products to where they are needed, production naturally stalls. More, Chesapeake and other companies are making temporary decisions based on prices, which are unlikely to stay low forever.

One of the key pipeline projects currently proposed in Ohio is the proposed Rover Pipeline which would carry natural gas from the Marcellus and Utica Shale formations to distribution points across Ohio and Michigan. As noted in the editorial, the project recently advanced another step closer to construction with the release of a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

The report concludes that the pipeline is needed, largely along the route planned. At the same time, it outlines a detailed plan the company must meet to lessen the environmental fallout, covering impacts to soil, water, wildlife and plants.

The editorial acknowledged that while shifting to renewable energy is an important goal, a complete transition is not likely in the foreseeable future.

Still, the time has not yet come to end all reliance on fossil fuels, especially cleaner burning natural gas. That means regulatory agencies must perform a balancing act, weighing local concerns against the energy needs of the nation.

It is clear that natural gas is becoming the predominate source of energy in our region and there is little evidence to suggest this trend will end anytime soon. With surging production in newly tapped shale formations we now have the opportunity to guarantee a supply of affordable, domestic energy for generations to come. Projects like the Rover Pipeline are essential to meeting the demands of new market dynamics spurred by the ongoing energy revolution.