PA Rural Residents Burn Marcellus Gas, Save Big Bucks on Heating

One of the conundrums of shale gas drilling in the Marcellus and Utica Shale is that the places where the gas is drilled and extracted are largely rural–places like Susquehanna County, PA, in the northeastern part of the state. The entire county has 43,000 residents (11,700 families). The largest “city” in Susquehanna County is the county seat of Montrose, population 1,600 (750 households). It’s just not all that economical to run natural gas pipelines to homes around the county–even though residents live atop an embarrassing riches of natural gas. One company, Leatherstocking Natural Gas, changed all that last year when they started to run pipelines to residences and businesses around Montrose.

This winter, one local business owner (an auto mechanic’s shop) now heating with natural gas, responded to his new fuel source this way: “Before when you were here, you asked if I was going to save money [by heating with natural gas]. I said ‘I sure as hell hope so.’ Well, I sure as hell am, let me tell you.” That about sums up the change from heating with oil to heating with home-grown, cheap and abundant Marcellus shale gas…

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