Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett said development of the Marcellus Shale was “good for the entire state” but conceded that several challenges lay ahead, in part because natural gas prices remain less than $3/Mcf.

During a radio interview on May 9, the Republican governor said the state was looking into ways to help facilitate the construction of pipelines and natural gas vehicles (NGVs) to generate more demand and help draw down large supplies. The latter proposal is still trying to gain traction in the Keystone State (see Shale Daily, May 10; March 15; Dec. 5, 2011).

“I know there’s a company looking into a pipeline going from up in the north [part of the state] down to the refineries to provide gas to be either liquefied and shipped out or [sent to] an ethylene cracker,” Corbett told WPHT-AM 1210’s Dom Giordano. “Another [option] is to start converting fleets of cars, particularly state fleets or light duty trucks, to natural gas vehicles.

“I’ve had conversations with people who want to put natural gas pumps at gas stations…they’re looking to go to Detroit and get [them] to start building the vehicles. You can convert, but it’s better to have them built original.”

Giordano said he marveled at how the unemployment rate in Bradford County, one of the state’s top producers of Marcellus Shale natural gas, now stood at less than 5%.

“I think people forget that what’s good for one part of the state is good for the entire state because it’s revenue to the state,” Corbett said. “It reduces unemployment. It reduces what we have to pay out in many different areas. But it is growing the jobs of Pennsylvania all across Pennsylvania.

“I was sitting down in Lancaster earlier this week with an engineering firm at a dinner, and they’re telling me how they brought on — even though there’s no Marcellus here in Harrisburg and Lancaster County — they brought on 200 more employees: engineers, surveyors, and things like that to work in the Marcellus region. It shows that the jobs are growing there.”

Corbett said the state was also concerned about the future of Sunoco Inc.’s refineries in the Philadelphia region.

“One of the potential uses or reuses in those Sunoco refineries would be to turn it into an ethylene cracker facility just like Royal Dutch Shell is going to build in Beaver County,” Corbett said (see Shale Daily, March 16). “If they do something like that in the refineries — if they’re not sold ‘as is’ to continue refining — that’s a good thing. That’ll be more jobs. I keep reminding people what we’re doing in the Port of Philadelphia, trying to grow Southport…It is all part of growing the economy of Pennsylvania.”