May 17, 2016

Plenty of Natural Gas, But No Way to Move It

There’s no shortage of natural gas being produced in Appalachia, but without the necessary infrastructure, the benefits of this valuable domestic resource can’t be enjoyed. As noted by a recent article in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, drillers operating in the Marcellus and Utica shale regions have long awaited the development of new pipelines necessary to accommodate record levels of production. Yet, despite the clear need for expanded capacity, many proposed pipeline projects remain stalled in the regulatory process.

Permit delays, a massive slowdown in drilling, lawsuits, tabled projects and opposition from environmental groups are combining to postpone the building of pipelines out of the Marcellus shale that executives and analysts expected to see this year. The industry hoped pipelines would this year start boosting prices that have barely rebounded from 17-year lows in March.

If not corrected, this concerning trend threatens to derail the Shale Gas Revolution and with it the prospect of sustained supply of affordable, clean-burning energy for generations to come. As the debate of over America’s crumbling national infrastructure continues to make headlines, it simply does not make sense that privately-funded funded projects aimed at expanding access to low-cost natural gas be continually sidelined.