Planes & Automobiles: Consumers Continue to Benefit from Natural Gas

Pittsburgh, Pa. – Our region’s robust supply of clean-burning natural gas continues to play a key and growing role in Powering Pennsylvania’s Transportation Sector. This week, in fact, a new compressed natural gas (CNG) station and Marcellus Shale-related benefits for Pittsburgh International Airport made big headlines.

CONSOL Energy’s partnership with Allegheny County to safely produce natural gas from below the airport is well on its way. On Monday, a bipartisan group of local and federal officials touted the plan, and its potential to not only create more jobs and economic activity, but also to help further reduce airport fees, attract new flights, and enhance our region’s competitiveness. Meanwhile, on Pittsburgh’s South Side, homegrown natural gas will soon be providing consumers and businesses with the opportunity to slash their fuel costs and enhance air quality and national security with the opening of a new compressed natural gas (CNG) filling station.

Here’s what they’re saying about this week’s exciting natural gas-driven developments as well as others:

AIRPORT GETS MAJOR MARCELLUS BOOST

  • Thanks to Marcellus Shale, PIT “more competitive and marketable”: Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald announced today that airline fees at Pittsburgh International Airport will be significantly lowered due to revenues from the public-private partnership with CONSOL Energy for natural gas development at the airport. … “By reducing operating costs for airlines serving Pittsburgh International Airport, this facility will become even more competitive and marketable,” said County Executive Fitzgerald. “Reducing our fees directly impacts the airlines’ cost and can contribute to improving air service in Pittsburgh.” (Release, 7/16/13)
  • Congressman Bill Shuster (PA-9), Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chairman: “Will revitalize the Pittsburgh area economy”: This great project will revitalize the Pittsburgh area economy, provide more domestic clean energy and increase investment in our infrastructure,” said Shuster. “This public-private partnership between the Pittsburgh International Airport and CONSOL Energy is a great example of why these partnerships are so important in contributing to greater economic vitality and are a key piece of our economic and infrastructure planning.” (Release, 7/15/13)
  • Congressman Tim Murphy (PA-18), House Energy Oversight Subcommittee Chairman: This partnership stands to benefit not just Pittsburgh International Airport, but the entire region by financing desperately needed infrastructure improvements and eliminating the airport’s crippling debt burden,” said Rep. Murphy. (Release, 7/15/13)
  • “CONSOL helps cut airline fees at Pittsburgh International”: The payments for natural gas drilling made by Consol Energy Inc. has cut the fees for airlines at Pittsburgh International Airport. The deal with Consol has led to the 12 percent reduction of landing fees, from $3.50 a passenger to $3.07. (Pittsburgh Business Times, 6/16/13)
  • “Cut airline fees will draw flights to PIT in time, congressman says”: Federal and county officials said on Monday that reduced airline fees at Pittsburgh International Airport will take time to attract flights, but will make the airport more competitive. … “I believe that over time, more flights will be here,” said U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. … Airport Authority officials on July 1 began using part of the $46.3 million in upfront money the authority got from Cecil-based Consol Energy Inc. to lease natural gas drilling rights on the airport’s 9,263 acres. The drilling deal could generate about $500 million for the airport authority. (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 6/16/13)
  • “Airlines’ costs at airport decrease as shale gas drilling money arrives”: Airlines are paying a little less to operate out of Pittsburgh International Airport these days, thanks to the potentially lucrative contract awarded last winter to mine the land for shale gas. The Allegheny County Airport Authority cut the airlines’ cost per enplanement by 55 cents on July 1 — the first fruit from a $46.3 million lease bonus payment received as part of a 20-year deal with Consol Energy for drilling on airport land. “They were like little kids on a holiday morning,” Bradley D. Penrod, the authority’s president and chief strategy officer, said of the airlines. … Under the airport’s use and lease agreement with carriers, the rest of the money will be used for capital improvements and economic development projects, Mr. Penrod said. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 6/16/13)

FILL ‘ER UP WITH CNG

  • “Region’s First Energy Center to open next week”: Gas stations are easy to find to fill up your car or truck, but public places to refuel vehicles that run on compressed natural gas (CNG) are often hard to locate. An EQT station in the Strip District is the only one in Pittsburgh, but that is about to change. “This is an energy center. It is not a gas station,” Jennifer Pomerantz, CEO of American Natural, said. … Offering compressed natural gas – right along with regular gasoline – is key, as more vehicle owners consider the cheaper, environmentally-friendly use of CNG. Natural gas flows into this building on the site where it is compressed into CNG and then flows underground to a pump and ultimately to your CNG vehicle. What is spurring CNG development is the price, says Pomerantz. “The price at this station will be retailed at starting at under $2 a gasoline gallon equivalent,” Pomerantz said. (KDKA-TV, 7/16/13)
  • “Company predicts compressed natural gas growth, opens South Side station in Pittsburgh”: With more fleets converting to CNG, the American Natural store near Station Square is a high-profile spot to lure average drivers. Its sign on East Carson Street likely will show CNG prices lower than $2 for the equivalent of a gallon of gasoline, about half the price of gasoline. … “This center is about an opportunity, an opportunity to choose,” Pomerantz, the CEO of Cleopatra Resources, said. “Our view as a company is, the tipping point is actually here.” (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 7/16/13)
  • “CNG fueling coming to Carson Street”: The center is a filling station for all types of vehicles, gasoline, diesel and compressed natural gas (CNG). It’s the latest public station to open offering consumers a CNG choice. Other public stations in the region are the EQT station in the Strip, the Giant Eagle station in Crafton and Clean N’ Green (a project by Waste Management and PetroCard) in Washington. … This is the first such station for the company but there will likely be others. … CEO Jennifer Pomerantz … noted that the fuel is going for just below $2 per gas gallon equivalent. (Pittsburgh Business Times, 7/16/13)
  • “American Natural brings a modernized energy center to Station Square”: American Natural, a subsidiary of New York-based energy company Cleopatra Resources LLC, will open what it calls the region’s first “energy center” at 73 East Carson Street in Station Square on July 25th. … “Natural gas is an abundant and attractively price commodity and we are extremely excited to bring this affordable, reliable and responsible product to the Pittsburgh market at a price just below two dollars per gallon,” says Jennifer Pomerantz, CEO of Cleopatra Resources. … According to Pomerantz, the fueling station, American Natural Retail’s first endeavor, will create around 20 permanent jobs in the Pittsburgh area. (Pop City Media, 6/17/13)

SAFE NATURAL GAS DEVELOPMENT = JOBS, ECONOMIC GROWTH

  • “Generations of Energy: Big boom in gas and economy”: Some new customers are in town. They’re in Williamsport to tap into the [shale] there … But they’re also tapping into the local restaurants and hotels. “You’ve seen a significant growth within that activity here, which has also driven the revenue up because of the fact that a lot of those business travelers that have been going in here associated with the Marcellus Shale have been staying here,” said Jason Fink, Executive Director of Lycoming County visitors bureau. Over the past five years, this increase in revenue has made it possible for hotels and restaurants to grow. … “It’s definitely been a huge impact on my business, we’ve grown a lot, we’ve gotten to meet great people,” said Mae Thaljih, co-owner of Ozzie & Mae’s Hacienda. … “It’s been amazing, actually, you see a lot of buildings have been restored, you see a lot of hotels popping up, a lot more hustle and bustle,” she said. (WRBE-TV, 7/15/13)
  • “We want to keep the environment safe for us and our kids”: Anadarko, America’s third-largest natural-gas producer, obsesses over health, safety, and the environment in its Marcellus Shale operations. … “We live in this area,” says Anadarko production manager Robert Montgomery. “We love the forests here. We want to keep the environment safe for us and our kids.” He adds: “Regulatory agencies have been working with us every step of the way as we have been developing these new technologies. There’s a whole lot of science and engineering involved, and we work side by side, so they know what’s going on.” … What’s not to like? This fuel is all-American, and the profits stay here — not in the hands of people who want to kill us. (National Review column, 7/15/13)
  • Natural gas drives small business growth: The U.S. could become the largest oil and natural gas producer in the world within the next five years. That is according to Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council Chief Economist Ray Keating who wrote a recent report titled “The Benefits of Natural Gas Production and Exports for U.S. Small Businesses.” … “Small businesses play a huge role in the energy sector. When you look at the numbers, 80 percent roughly, give or take, of each sector are businesses with less than 20 employees,” said Keating. “So the energy business is very much about small business.” (MetroNews, 7/15/13)
  • Marcellus powers Pa. manufacturing: Governor Tom Corbett stopped by Monroe County Monday to recognize one of the county’s largest employers for converting to natural gas. Sanofi Pasteur is the first to benefit from a recent natural gas pipeline project in the Poconos. Governor Corbett stopped by Sanofi Pasteur in Swiftwater, known for making vaccines, to let everyone there know Sanofi’s conversion to natural gas means a boost to the local economy. “If you take the natural gas line, you’re going to be able to see other companies tap into that natural gas line all along this way.  It’s going to be an economic stimulus through our own natural resources,” said Governor Corbett. The company started converting to natural gas in May. … They estimate in one year, they could save up to $4 million on utility bills. (WNEP-TV, 7/15/13)
  • “MarkWest Investing Billions” across the region: The ethane being produced in the Marcellus and Utica shale region should be enough to support construction of several ethane crackers, officials with MarkWest Energy believe. MarkWest has invested $2.2 billion into pipelines, processing and fractionation plants in the region. … “There is plenty of gas to go around,” Greg Sullivan, area manager for MarkWest, said. … Sullivan said there are now about 2,500 construction employees working to build the Harrison County plants and the pipeline network to which they connect, a number he believes will increase in the near future. “We hire both union and non-union,” [MarkWest’s Rob] McHale added. (Wheeling Intelligencer, 7/14/13)
  • Shale boosts local government budgets: Butler County continues to benefit from Marcellus shale money, according to Controller Jack McMillin’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report. For 2012, the county received $1.2 million in drilling impact fees, up from $900,000 in 2011. … At the end of 2012, according to McMillin’s report, the county had 152 producing gas wells, up 81 percent from 84 wells at the end of 2011. McMillin’s report said there are some estimates that local gas well royalty fees, paid to property owners for gas produced on their property, could inject $100 million annually into the local economy. (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 7/13/13)
  • Natural gas enhances air quality, improves living conditions: Shale gas in the U.S. has created an estimated 600,000 jobs that are generating about $100 billion in added GDP and almost $20 billion in public revenue. … With good regulation, during the coming decade [natural gas] can do the most good worldwide in terms of cutting CO2 emissions and improving living conditions. (Project Syndicate column, 7/12/13)

Interested in natural gas-related news, facts and information? Please like our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter and sign-up for updates about safe, job-creating Marcellus Shale development today. And for those with questions, please visit LearnAboutShale.org.