New Castle News

Local News

October 11, 2012

Our Opinion: Power plant plan is one of keys to shale gas success

NEW CASTLE — There’s been considerable talk in and around Lawrence County about shale gas drilling.

But to date, activity in the county has been limited. Plenty of leases have been signed, and a few wells have been drilled, yet actual production is unclear.

That’s mainly because drillers don’t reveal what they find when they sink wells. Such information tips off the competition.

Plus, gas well production is more than drilling. Lines have to be installed to get the gas from the wellhead to where it can be put to use. That’s just starting to happen here in Lawrence County.

Another factor in the local shale gas saga is the price of the fuel on the open market. For years, the cost of natural gas as a commodity has been in slow decline, because of expanding production around the country. With falling natural gas prices, drillers have less incentive to tap new wells and expand operations.

This is why creating new markets is crucial to profitability in shale gas. The biggest example of this in western Pennsylvania is the proposed cracker plant in Monaca that would use gas from the region to make certain products — while expanding the local job base.

And this week, it was announced one company is planning to build a power generation plant in North Beaver Township that would run on natural gas. Presumably, much of that gas would come from the region.

Advocates of shell gas drilling tout its potential for providing cleaner energy while reducing demand for foreign oil imports. For that to happen, however, industries need to change how they use energy.

With coal and oil used in many electrical generation operations, converting to natural gas is an obvious way to move toward cleaner domestic energy production. For that reason, the North Beaver Township plant plan is welcome news for the area.

Actually, this type of expanded natural gas use is something of a trend. Yesterday, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection announced it had given its approval to the first natural gas-fired power plant in the state. This one is in Bradford County, which has considerable shale gas activity.

With what’s anticipated as expanded shale gas production in many parts of the United States, we envision an array of industrial changes designed to take advantage of the plentiful and inexpensive fuel source. That includes some companies converting fleets of vehicles to natural gas use.

And because this gas is being produced in and around Lawrence County, we anticipate the North Beaver Township power generation plant to be just the first in a series of local projects designed to take advantage of this new economic opportunity.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • LOVEkitchen.jpg Love Kitchen: Little Caesars provides special delivery for Rescue Mission

    The Little Caesars Love Kitchen rolled into the City Rescue Mission for a special delivery Wednesday. A pizza kitchen on wheels, the big rig travels across the United States and Canada to meet the needs of the hungry, the homeless and disaster survivors.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • fairphoto.jpg County fair looks for a few good bakers

    The countdown to the 2014 Lawrence County Fair has begun. In less than two weeks, the fairgrounds will be brimming with animals, vegetables, fruit, flowers, music, food and fun. This year’s fair runs from Aug. 11 to 16.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • CarolineOrrico.jpg Local teen off to state DYW event

    Lawrence County’s 2015 Distinguished Young Woman is heading back into scholarship competition.


    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • NicholsonOffice.jpg County to buy new office for Nicholson

    Before the end of the year, the Lawrence County commissioners plan to move District Judge Jennifer Nicholson into new offices.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • PortersvilleSS.jpg Portersville Steam Show summer event arrives

    The Portersville Steam Show will stage its summer event Thursday through Sunday at its show grounds.


    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Veteran.jpg Veterans seminar to view technology

    A veterans benefits seminar has been set for Friday. The program will run from 2 to 4 p.m. in the commissioners room of the Lawrence County courthouse.


    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Part-time guard position created

    The Lawrence County Salary Board created a part-time temporary court guard position Tuesday.


    July 30, 2014

  • JaredGustafson.jpg Mohawk senior Jared Gustafson elected nation FCCLA officer

    A Mohawk High student was elected to national office at a leadership conference in Texas. Senior Jared Gustafson now is the 2014-2015 national vice president of parliamentary law for the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America.


    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • PipeDreams.jpg Concert to feature sounds of ’60s

    This week’s Friday Night Live at Riverwalk Amphitheater will feature a 1960s theme. Entertainment will be provided by Pipe Dreams. The group performs a tribute to the British Invasion and American rock ’n roll with music from The Beatles, Stones, Doors, Monkees and hits from Motown and Philly.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • well.jpg Environmental groups oppose forced pooling

    An effort by local landowners to have forced pooling declared unconstitutional is getting some outside support. Two environmental groups — Delaware Riverkeeper Network and Mountain Watershed Association — have filed a friend of the court brief with Commonwealth Court. They are asking that the court review forced pooling, which is part of a 1961 Oil and Gas Conservation Law, before scheduled hearings take place.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo