Gas companies in Philadelphia

Plans for shale gas ‘energy hub’ draw investors and protestors to Philadelphia
May 20, 2015 – 07:51 am

Dozens of protestors carried signs and chanted “no fracking hub” outside Drexel University’s Creese Student Center where business leaders met to discuss plans for expanding Philadelphia’s role in the Marcellus Shale natural gas boom.Katie Colaneri/StateImpact Pennsylvania

Business leaders gathered in Philadelphia on Friday to pitch investors on plans to turn the region into an “energy hub” based on booming Marcellus Shale gas production.

It’s hard to say exactly how it went, though, because most members of the news media were barred from the event. They hung around outside Drexel University’s Creese Student Center, along with protestors who came to decry those plans to hinge the region’s economy on fossil fuels.

The only journalists allowed inside were a Philadelphia Inquirer reporter and a freelancer representing the New York Times, according to a spokeswoman for the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce.

“It’s by invitation-only because we think it’s extremely important to have individuals that are empowered to make buying decisions meet each other here in Greater Philadelphia, ” said the chamber’s CEO Rob Wonderling in a phone interview. “It is not a broad public policy event.”

Wonderling is co-chair of the Greater Philadelphia Energy Action Team, along with South Philadelphia refinery CEO Phil Rinaldi. The group – made up of regional business leaders, Marcellus Shale Coalition President David Spigelmyer and U.S. Rep. Patrick Meehan (R., Pa.) – formed more than a year ago with the goal of expanding Philadelphia’s role in the shale gas boom.

The “energy hub” vision includes plans for new pipelines to carry natural gas from wells in Northeast Pennsylvania to fuel new processing plants and refineries in this area that would turn that gas into building blocks for new products.

“We’re hopeful that a year from now, introductions that were met today will bear fruit into commercial transactions, ” Wonderling said.

As event participants sat down to a networking breakfast Friday, dozens of protestors marched and chanted “no fracking hub, ” hoping their message could be heard inside.

“These companies cannot be trusted, ” said South Philadelphia resident Maria Kretschmann, who carried a sign reading, “Philadelphia is not for sale.”

Kretschmann echoed others at the rally in her suspicion of the oil and gas industry, citing concerns about the impact of burning fossil fuels on public health and a warming planet.

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Popular Q&A
How much was gas in old day Philadelphia?

If by the old days you mean something like the 1930's and 1940's it was about 20 cents per gallon. Such a product was not available in the 1600's, 1700's and 1800's. When Colonel Edwin Drake began to drill for oil in 1859 the process of fracturing crude oil had not yet been invented. No refineries existed. The market for even basic kerosene had not yet been created and whale oil was just fine for those that needed some illumination beyond candles.
The Kerosene or coal oil lamp was a quantum leap in households and industry until Thomas Edison electrified the world and in rural America it…

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