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Marketer Touting Marcellus Gas With 'Buy Local' Pitch

February 22, 2010
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Two veteran energy executives are building a regionally focused gas marketing business in New York and Pennsylvania on the back of the Marcellus Shale. EnergyMark LLC recently bought New York and Pennsylvania assets of Constellation NewEnergy-Gas Division LLC, which is a subsidiary of Constellation Energy Group Inc.

EnergyMark is a partnership of South Jersey Energy Solutions, a division of South Jersey Industries (SJI) and MW Energy Inc. of Amherst, NY, which is owned by energy entrepreneurs Gary Marchiori and Tim Wright. Marchiori and Wright have experience in the New York-Pennsylvania region, having worked for National Fuel Gas and Texaco, and as co-owners of NOCO Energy Marketing LLC. EnergyMark intends to emphasize the use of locally sourced natural gas to serve its commercial and industrial customers.

"We intend to take advantage of the resources provided from the prolific Marcellus Shale play, which is positioned literally underneath a consuming region," said Ken DePriest, vice president of South Jersey Energy Solutions.

"This is about regionalization," Marchiori, who is EnergyMark's president, told NGI. "These towns in Pennsylvania that were left for dead 50 years ago because all the manufacturing left are now seeing this resurgence in tax base, jobs, people in the area, even if it's temporary, to develop this resource. And it's an economic engine. Flat out this thing has been good for the region, and buying that type of natural gas, which is locally produced, and a true green form of energy, the cleanest fossil fuel, makes sense for these people.

"I think it's them understanding what the value proposition is because they've been lulled into this sense of everything's equal; this is a commodity and your gas is no different from that gas. Well, it is different. It's different in how it's sourced. It's different in where the benefit lies."

SJI, through its South Jersey Resources Group subsidiary, is a Marcellus Shale producer and marketer with storage assets on the National Fuel Gas system. SJI also owns Open Flow Energy of Dubois, PA, a gas producer and direct energy supply company serving northwest Pennsylvania, which will assume operations for the Pennsylvania assets purchased from Constellation NewEnergy-Gas Division.

"The acquisition reflects a growing regional supply focus and interest in development of sustainable domestic fuel supply. The Northeast is the nation's major consuming region, traditionally dependent on imported oil and long-haul pipeline fuel supplies," Marchiori said. "EnergyMark's focus on the use of local fuel supply will bring the benefit of locally produced gas to the local consumer...This shortening of the energy value chain will bring supply from a 150-mile radius instead of from Western Canada and the Gulf Coast, which is 1,500 miles away."

Marchiori told NGI that EnergyMark's gas is sourced about 90% from the region, but that soon will increase to 100% as the company is dropping its long-haul pipeline supply in favor of local gas. Because of his and Wright's experience and the fact that they take title to gas and provide services to both producers and end-users, Marchiori said EnergyMark offers the kind of service energy consultants can't.

"This is the age of the energy consultant, unfortunately, and suppliers have been relegated to some different function, which is this ultra-low-cost sort of proposition that has really thinned down the ranks of good suppliers, and what we need out there is strong suppliers," Marchiori said.

MW Energy was formed in 2002 by Marchiori and has been involved in several power and natural gas ventures, including ownership of NOCO Energy Marketing, which was sold by NOCO Inc. and MW Energy to Constellation NewEnergy-Gas Division LLC in 2006.

SJI is an energy services holding company and parent of utility South Jersey Gas. South Jersey Energy Solutions, the parent of SJI's nonregulated businesses, acquires and markets gas and electricity for retail customers and offers energy-related services.

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