Tapping in to a Gas Boom

By Matt Markham

April 11, 2012 Updated Apr 11, 2012 at 6:09 PM EDT

Wysox, PA (WBNG Binghamton) The Northern Tier may be making a lot of money on the natural gas boom, but how much is it saving?

The Marcellus Shale play moves from exporting gas to keeping and using some.

Northeast PA's windfall may be nothing now compared to what it could be if it is powered on its own natural gas.

Home heating prices elsewhere are dropping because of the resource flowing from places like Bradford County.

"It's so rural that sometimes we can't benefit from the gas that has gone right by our houses," said State Senator Gene Yaw (R-23)

But, can those landowners tap in?

"There's no difference than sewer and water and other things we desperately need for infrastructure," said Central Bradford Progress Authority director Tony Ventello. "The critical part of that is we have too many miles of roads and not enough residents to really justify some of the investments."

Leaders say, give an incentive to the pipeline companies.

"In my district, I have 70 people per square mile," Yaw said. "That doesn't mean there aren't pockets of population that can be served."

It could be very soon that areas like this have access to natural gas made in Pennsylvania. There's one company based in New York that wants to bring it to them.

The Leatherstocking Gas Company is inching towards a network of lines in Susquehanna County. It hopes to start construction in June.

"We feel that there's enough customers to justify the new construction, and we feel the access to local production changes all the economic calculations," said Michael German, president of Leatherstocking Gas.

Those calculations indicate to Leatherstocking that the cost to provide taps to residents along the way is small. "Any customer that we go by we will provide natural gas to if they want it," German said.

The cost of installing distribution lines is growing, but so is the demand for them.

Research from testimony shows that the price of natural gas is right for consumers. But, they are using less energy because of more efficient appliances.

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