NiSource to spend $1.5B on pipeline upgrades

The parent of Columbia Gas Transmission said Friday it has won federal approval for a plan to spend $300 million a year through 2017 on improvements to its Appalachian pipeline system. Indiana-based NiSource Inc. said the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved the plan for Columbia Gas Transmission's lines in West Virginia, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland and Kentucky. Chief Executive Officer Jimmy Staton says the $1.5 billion investment will help ensure safer, more reliable pipeline infrastructure for customers and the communities across the region.



Fifteen-year deal to ship ethane via Marcus Hook

A European petrochemical producer has entered into a 15-year agreement to ship Marcellus Shale ethane to Norway from a Sunoco Logistics terminal in Marcus Hook. INEOS Europe, which is based in Switzerland, announced that it has signed a deal with Evergas, a Danish shipping company, to build and operate vessels to transport super-cooled ethane to chemical plants called "crackers" in Europe. Ethane, a derivative of natural gas, is used to manufacture plastics. Sunoco Logistics is modifying a pipeline to deliver ethane and other shale-gas products from western Pennsylvania to the former Sunoco refinery site in Marcus Hook.



UGI pushes ahead with pipeline plans

Although plans for a natural gas compressor station in West Wyoming are temporarily on hold, UGI Energy Services still plans to construct a pipeline that will provide UGI Penn Natural Gas customers with gas from Northeastern Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale. "We're moving forward with the pipeline regardless," said Kevin Kelleher, manager of producer services for UGI Energy Services Inc. in Wyomissing. The company plans to run approximately 28 miles of 24-inch diameter pipeline from an existing facility in Washington Township, Wyoming County, to connect to a UGI utility line and the Transco interstate pipeline in West Wyoming.



Yearlong study to test radiation levels in oil and gas equipment and waste

The state Department of Environmental Protection has announced a yearlong study of radiation levels in equipment and wastes associated with oil and gas development it says will be the "most extensive and comprehensive" ever conducted. The regulatory agency announced the study Thursday and said it will test radiation levels at dozens of well pads, wastewater treatment plants and waste disposal facilities statewide.



PUC ups fine against UGI over fatal Allentown gas blast

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission on Thursday raised the financial penalty against UGI Utilities to the maximum $500,000 for the February 2011 natural gas explosion in Allentown that killed five people and leveled half a block. Under the original terms of the settlement, announced in October, UGI was to pay a $386,000 fine and speed up replacement of cast-iron pipes.



Cumberland County OKs $50K of Marcellus shale money for farm preservation; $350K on hold

Cumberland County commissioners voted 2-1 today to use $50,000 of its $400,000 in Marcellus shale funding for the county's farmland preservation program. Before the commissioners hand over the remaining $350,000 to the Land Partnership Grants Program, they want to review the program's operational guidelines to verify that it's a fit for Marcellus shale funding, said Stephanie Williams, the county's greenway and open spaces coordinator.



ABCD, chamber host gas seminar

Opportunities exist for area businesses to get a piece of the pie in the natural gas industry in Pennsylvania. "We are trying to educate and inform local companies so they are aware of the activities that are around and what they can do to become part of the play," said Martin J. Marasco, president and CEO of Altoona-Blair County Development Corp. Tuesday at a natural gas business development seminar at the Blair County Convention Center.



Company picks route for Constitution Pipeline

The Constitution Pipeline Co. selected a proposed route for a new pipeline, one it will pitch to federal regulators. The transmission line would transport natural gas from Susquehanna County to New England. After a year of soliciting input from landowners and stakeholders, Constitution tweaked about half of the originally proposed route, said project manager Matt Swift in a statement.



Leasehold acquisition: The first step of natural gas extraction

There are many aspects of the natural gas industry that makes it extremely interesting. The technology to know where and how to drill for natural gas and the sophisticated equipment used makes the industry a fascinating one to witness. However, none of that would have been possible in the Marcellus Shale region without first acquiring the right to do so from individual landowners via leasing.



Fracking for natural gas being powered by it, too

Advances in hydraulic fracturing technology have powered the American natural gas boom. And now hydraulic fracturing could be increasingly powered by the very fuel it has been so successful in coaxing up from the depths. Oil- and gas-field companies from Pennsylvania to Texas are experimenting with converting the huge diesel pump engines that propel millions of gallons of water, sand and chemicals thousands of feet down well bores to break apart rock or tight sands and release the natural gas trapped inside.