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Energy companies and public officials alike are taking advantage of the booming natural gas industry through the addition of refinery crackers and modifications to pipelines, according to the New Pittsburgh Courier.
Companies like BASF in Port Arthur, Texas, as well as larger entities such as Spectra Energy and ExxonMobil are capitalizing on the industry's recent transformations.
New York pipeline
Texas-based energy company Spectra is slated to be the conglomerate contracted to build a pipeline to run under the Chelsea and West Village neighborhoods in New York with the project backed by federal funding and is expected to reach completion by Nov. 1, according to DNA info. The line was built to carry natural gas under the city's residential and commercial properties and is "adequately stabilized," said Lauren O'Donnell, commissions director of Spectra.
The gas in the line is carried 20 miles underground and is supplied by a plant in Linden, N.J., and the gas from the pipe contains enough natural gas to heat approximately 2 million homes throughout the city. Con Edison is slated to be the main distributor of the gas to customers in the Manhattan area.
However, not everyone is as excited about the expansion project as its shareholders.
"We don't know enough to say that ConEd's system is safe," voiced Maarten de Kadt, co-chairperson of the Waterfront, Parks and Environment Committee. Officials from ConEd assure residents the pipeline does not pose any immediate danger, however many citizens are not convinced and fear gas leaks and explosions.
Safety equipment such as a toxic gas detector and regular inspections may be useful in detecting hazardous leaks and mitigating damage.
Why natural gas
ConEd is just one of many companies beginning to fully utilize natural gas as an alternate to other fuel sources since it is more cost effective and burns cleaner than fuels in the past, said a spokesperson for Spectra.
In addition to simply heating homes, companies like ExxonMobil have found that natural gas has quickly jumped to the forefront of a transportation fuel as well, adding to the already thriving $98 billion dollar a year oil industry. With prices at $3.98 a gallon, companies like ExxonMobil are likely to continue to adapt to a changing energy market.
In the meantime, BASF has planned to open more cracking plants in Texas and Louisiana with hopes to start construction in western Pennsylvania where the area is rich in Marcellus Shale, a type of natural gas run through crackers to separate out the ethylene used in everyday products.
Industrial Safety News brought to you by Safety Systems Technology, Inc., leaders in fire and gas detection.