“If all goes well with city council, the project will be advertised for bids in about 90 days and a contract award should be let by mid to late summer,” Girdler said.
“Natural gas is being promoted as the energy of the future,” said Girdler. “Somerset’s natural gas business has grown to the point where we can make a major impact on Kentucky and the United States.” Girdler predicted the natural gas expansion will create as many as 2,000 jobs in the region, mostly from Somerset east to Virginia and West Virginia.
Somerset Gas Company manager Dan Henderson, during an earlier interview, explained that Somerset is in a unique position in that its natural gas pipeline to the Texas Eastern terminal in Casey County crosses two other interstate transmission lines. It gives Somerset Gas Service points of connection with three major national gas transmission companies.
“We’re like an interstate pipeline,” said Girdler, alluding to the city’s expanding natural gas business. “We run high-pressure pipelines ... we have no choice but to change our operations to protect the public.”
Somerset made a major step into the natural gas business when during a natural gas shortage in the 1970s. The city borrowed $4.5 million from Farmers Home Administration to build a natural gas pipeline into eastern Kentucky. Transmission of natural gas from previously landlocked producers ended frequent natural gas shortages in Somerset and has proven a financial success.