Philly Chamber of Commerce Report Pushes Gas Pipeline

Local business leaders want Philly to become an energy hub. They say a new pipeline is needed to move gas from the Marcellus Shale to the region.

A map of proposed natural gas pipelines into or near the greater Philadelphia region taken from "A Pipeline for Growth."

A map of proposed natural gas pipelines into the greater Philadelphia region taken from PGEAT’s “A Pipeline for Growth” report.

The push to make Philadelphia America’s next energy hub continues.

The Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce this morning hosted an event, “Building the Nation’s Next Energy Hub,” that called for the construction of a natural gas pipeline from the Marcellus Shale to the Philadelphia area.

The Greater Philadelphia Energy Action Team released a report, A Pipeline for Growth, at the event today that details their plans. The region currently consumes three billion cubic feet of natural gas a day; the GPEAT wants to double that by “growing the energy and manufacturing sectors and creating an east coast demand-center.”

The report says falling gas prices are a reason to build the pipeline. “With the current oversupply of gas in the reserves and insufficient infrastructure to get the gas to market, regional prices in the Marcellus and Utica regions remain severely depressed which in turn has resulted in gas producers significantly cutting back their production,” the report says. “Linking the Pennsylvania shale resources more directly to the large energy consuming markets in the tristate region could significantly improve production and increase the revenue generated from gas production in Pennsylvania.”

Phil Rinaldi is chair of the Energy Action Team and CEO of Philadelphia Energy Solutions. A group of environmental organizations, which have often dubbed Rinaldi “Fossil Phil,” protested outside the meeting this morning. Rinaldi told The Inquirer the report was a “quasi-political primer” for building support for the pipeline. The report calls for state and local subsidies to help built it; the route has yet to be determined.

“Since day one as governor, I have made investing in jobs that pay a top priority for my administration,” Gov. Tom Wolf said in a statement. “In creating this energy hub, we are ensuring that the greater Philadelphia area will reap benefits that will energize the economy and create good-paying jobs for Pennsylvanians. The work done by the energy industry, public sector, labor and government officials in developing this Energy Hub strategy is a great example of how we can work together to foster economic growth in our commonwealth. My administration will carefully review the details of the report and continue to assure that all issues surrounding workforce development, safety, and environmental safeguards are fully addressed.”

The report says the new pipeline would lower energy bills in the region. “Combined, the new savings to residents [in the Greater Philadelphia region] and businesses will generate $888 million each year, supporting 5,250 jobs with $324 million in earnings,” the report says. Gas from the Marcellus Shale is generally cheaper than gas produced along the Gulf of Mexico.

There are also other pipelines prepared for the region. Sunoco Logistics is working on a massive liquid natural gas pipeline, Mariner East 2, that would bring LNGs into Marcus Hook. Construction on that pipeline has been pushed back to the summer, but is expected to be completed by next year.

The full Energy Hub report is below.

Follow @dhm on Twitter.