A one-day conference next week will focus exclusively on the midstream side of the natural gas business.
The first annual Midstream PA conference is co-hosted by Penn State and Shale Directories. It will be held next Tuesday at the Penn Stater in State College and bring together some of the biggest midstream companies and drillers in the state– including Williams, UGI Energy Services, Cabot Oil & Gas, and Range Resources.
The term “midstream” covers everything from gathering lines, to compressor stations, and interstate pipelines– basically the infrastructure needed to move gas from the well to end users.
You can think of pipelines as “part two” of the drilling boom.
“We have all this gas and liquids,” says Matt Henderson, of Penn State’s Marcellus Center for Outreach and Research. “Now the issue is getting it to market. The midstream is the bottleneck.”
Henderson says this infrastructure gap really hit home last winter during the polar vortex, when supply and demand struggled to stay in synch. And despite the massive gas production in Pennsylvania, New England is facing skyrocketing electric rates this winter– largely due to increased reliance on gas and pipeline constraints.
“There’s probably 1,200 wells that aren’t hooked up for a number of reasons,” says Henderson. “It’s pretty consistent across the state, but I’d say the bigger need is north of Pittsburgh where we have a lot of exploratory wells becoming more of a production area.”
He says as billions of dollars in gas infrastructure are planned for the coming years, companies are looking for vendors to support the growth– particularly in welding and the construction industry.