The transformation that is taking place in the Mahoning Valley's economy is in part because of the Utica Shale. Daily we see new companies coming, expressing interest and building new businesses to add to or exploit the oil and gas that is under our feet.
This area is vastly different from other ''oil patch'' locations like North Dakota, Wyoming or even southeast Ohio, because we are not wide open country with average land owners owning hundreds or thousands of acres. The blessing of the Valley is that the roads, water, power and railroads are here. The challenge is that our oil-rich ''wet gas'' needs its own pipelines to get it to a processing plant so that it can be used; and there are far more small land owners here in the Valley for the oil companies to work with.
We routinely hear ''when are we going to see the oil money here?'' The simple answer is, when the oil companies can drill a well AND get the gas and oil to market. Halcon Resources and BP are working daily to connect their wells to the market via (needed) new pipelines. Yet it is reported that some people / community leaders lament the ''low price'' they are offered for a pipeline right of way.
If you want the gas and oil to get to market so you and your community can see the financial benefits ... you need to allow the pipelines through. I am not advocating that we allow shoddy workmanship or bad environmental decisions. On the contrary, my exposure to these oil and gas people on all levels show a huge concern for the environment.
Good leases offer those protections. But assuming you deserve to get rich selling a pipeline right of way ignores the fact that for the money to flow to you or the community, the gas and oil must flow first. It cannot flow without pipelines.
I encourage everyone who wants to see the oil and gas business add to their personal and community wealth and quality of life to help get the gas to market. Once the gas and oil have an avenue to get to market, there will be an even larger group of companies coming that will produce plastic resins, compressed natural gas vehicles (CNG is $1 cheaper per gallon than gasoline), more value added processes like steel making, and larger economic benefits you would never dream of.
Kudos to Niles for recognizing the larger benefit of letting the pipeline through, and a request for Girard City Council to look at the simple fact that without pipelines, they will never unlock the wealth hidden under the hundreds and hundreds of acres that the city or its nearby residents own. Those properties along the pipelines will become the most economical ... and first to be drilled in the future.
-- Dan Crouse, Warren