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Ohio Utica Shale

Duke Energy, Piedmont want gas pipeline to North Carolina

By Bob Downing Published: April 2, 2014

From the Associated Press on Tuesday:

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Duke Energy Corp. and Piedmont Natural Gas Company Inc. said Tuesday they want to invest in a new natural gas pipeline into North Carolina that can deliver more of the cheap fuel to customers and especially to new power plants run by the country's largest electricity company.

The two Charlotte-based companies said they are shopping for proposals to build a pipeline that could start delivering fuel to Duke's electric power plants and other businesses beginning in late 2018. The companies expect to select a proposal by late this year.

The Transcontinental Gas pipeline is the single source of natural gas supplies to most customers in North Carolina. The pipeline runs from southeast Texas through Georgia and South Carolina, then on to the bulk of its customers in the Northeast. The Transcontinental pipeline's operator is seeking regulatory permission to reverse the flow of gas so it can carry cheap gas released from the Marcellus Shale formation in West Virginia and Pennsylvania.

With the new pipeline, Duke and Piedmont also would be likely to send gas from the Marcellus shale deposits to the Southeast, said Catherine Landry of the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America, a trade group for the North America natural gas pipeline industry.

"The single biggest natural gas field is Marcellus," she said. "You have to start thinking about what does that mean for pipelines? You want to bring gas from Texas all the way to New England? What you want to do is have it move a shorter distance."

Natural gas from the Marcellus shale deposits is produced by a drilling and pumping process called hydraulic fracturing, nicknamed "fracking."

Duke and Piedmont are open to suggestions about the source of new natural gas supplies but seek "diversity of natural gas supplies" and a different pipeline route, the companies said in a statement. The companies are willing to structure their ownership or investment in any of several ways, the statement said.

Duke Energy has spent years shifting from burning coal under pressure from environmental protection laws. More recently it has been attracted to the lower cost of natural gas. Since 2011, the electric company has completed new gas-powered units at five North Carolina power plants, including one in Rockingham County where residues collected from decades of burning coal spilled and polluted the neighboring Dan River in February. Piedmont pipelines supply natural gas to all five plants.

Duke also is seeking regulatory approval to convert a plant in Anderson, S.C., into burning gas.

Piedmont wants the pipeline to supply its own growing list of customers. The company added 14,000 customers last year as new home construction returns from the recession's depths, but existing customers also are converting to burning natural gas to save money, spokesman David Trusty said.

"With natural gas supplies being what they are and how dramatically they've increased in recent years, helping to keep natural gas prices stable and affordable, that's the message that's getting out to customers," he said.



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Utica and Marcellus shale web sites

Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management State agency Web site.

ODNR Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management. State drilling permits. List is updated weekly.

ODNR Division of Geological Survey.

Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

Ohio State University Extension.

Ohio Farm Bureau.

Ohio Oil and Gas Association, a Granville-based group that represents 1,500 Ohio energy-related companies.

Ohio Oil & Gas Energy Education Program.

Energy In Depth, a trade group.

Marcellus and Utica Shale Resource Center by Ohio law firm Bricker & Eckler.

Utica Shale, a compilation of Utica shale activities.

Landman Report Card, a site that looks at companies involved in gas and oil leases.FracFocus, a compilation of chemicals used in fracking individual wells as reported voluntarily by some drillers.

Chesapeake Energy Corp,the Oklahoma-based firm is the No. 1 driller in Ohio.

Rig Count Interactive Map by Baker Hughes, an energy services company.

Shale Sheet Fracking, a Youngstown Vindicator blog.

National Geographic's The Great Shale Rush.

The Ohio Environmental Council, a statewide eco-group based in Columbus.

Buckeye Forest Council.

Earthjustice, a national eco-group.

Stop Fracking Ohio.

People's Oil and Gas Collaborative-Ohio, a grass-roots group in Northeast Ohio.

Concerned Citizens of Medina County, a grass-roots group.

No Frack Ohio, a Columbus-based grass-roots group.

Fracking: Gas Drilling's Environmental Threat by ProPublica, an online journalism site.

Penn State Marcellus Center.

Pipeline, blog from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Marcellus shale drilling.

Allegheny Front, environmental public radio for Western Pennsylvania.