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Pipeline crunch is a key topic at Philadelphia shale conference

PHILADELPHIA — The buildout of pipelines needed to move natural gas from Pennsylvania’s shale fields to markets could last another 20 years, the head of one of the state’s largest utilities said Wednesday.

“That’s probably a two-decade period to put the infrastructure in place to ensure continuous access to low-cost energy,” UGI Corp. CEO John Walsh told several hundred energy industry leaders during an annual conference at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

The Marcellus Shale Coalition’s Shale Insight conference began with a discussion of Philadelphia’s role in the shale boom that has generally taken place hundreds of miles to the north and west.

A revived energy hub that has developed here at the end of crude oil rail lines and natural gas liquid pipelines “is basically a taste of what is yet to come,” said Philip Rinaldi, CEO of Philadelphia Energy Solutions, which runs the East Coast’s largest refinery.

In related news, path of PennEast natural gas pipeline modified near Plains Township, Laflin Borough.

“This is a region that already is acting as a funnel for energy products,” he said.

The key sites include the South Philadelphia refinery that Rinaldi’s company bought to process 20 percent of the oil pulled from shale in North Dakota, and Sunoco Logistics’ natural gas liquids terminal south of the city in Marcus Hook.

Sunoco Logistics is building at least a second and possibly a third pipeline as part of its Mariner East project to bring propane, ethane and butane from shale wells around Pittsburgh to the terminal.

“The critical thing about energy … is how do you get to market most competitively,” said Sunoco Logistics’ senior vice president Joseph Colella. “Frankly, that’s what Marcus Hook brings.”

The conference continues Wednesday and Thursday with workshops for industry workers and speeches by politicians including former New York Mayor Rudolph Guiliani.

This article was written by DAVID CONTI from The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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