Over the past few years, the U.S. energy scene has been completely turned on its head. Suddenly, there is energy gushing from regions that hadn't produced a thing in decades. As oil and gas flows up from our wells in mind-boggling quantities in non-traditional markets, it isn't unusual to read about pipelines switching directions or converting from oil to natural gas and vice versa.
The changes mean a shift away from East Coast refining, which historically has relied on crude imports for processing. Those imports are now more expensive than domestically produced oil, and the shrinking margins have closed many an East Coast refinery. Now there is an unexpected solution to the problem: Make like a pipeline and trade commodities.
Sunoco's pipeline subsidiary, Sunoco Logistics
Who wins and why
The Marcellus Shale isn't just producing a lot of gas; right now it's producing too much gas. There are at least 1,000 wells waiting for pipelines to be built in the region before they come online. Experts expect production there to increase 78% over the next three years. Keep in mind that up to this past May production in the Marcellus had already doubled year over year.
Really, SXL's refurbished pipeline is doing the whole industry a favor.
Sunoco Logistics and its partner in the pipeline project, MarkWest Energy
Another point to consider, is that Energy Transfer Partners'
Natural gas production is changing our energy world, and will continue to do so for some time. Savvy investors will make note of all the different industries the commodity can disrupt and invest accordingly. The future is natural gas, and Fools intrigued by that prospect should also take a look at the special report, "The One Energy Stock You Must Own Before 2014."
Fool contributor Aimee Duffy holds no position in any company mentioned. Click here to see her holdings and a short bio. If you have the energy, check out what she's keeping an eye on by following her on Twitter, where she goes by @TMFDuffy.
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