10:39am

Mon July 4, 2011
Business and the Economy

Somerset Firm Sees Natural Gas as Electricity

If David Weddle's idea works, natural gas from unused wells will play a growing role in meeting Kentucky's electricity needs.Weddle is president and c hief executive of Wellhead Energy Systems, which has developed a way to convert natural gas to electricity at the well and feed it into the power grid. The Somerset company's plan involves tapping so-called "stranded" gas wells to generate electricity. Stranded wells have been drilled but aren't producing. Wells can end up stranded for various reasons. For instance, a company might drill a well to preserve a lease, but it isn't connected to a pipeline to transport the gas. The electrical grid is much more extensive than the network of pipelines to gather and transport natural gas, creating an opportunity to convert the gas to electricity and feed it into the grid through lines that pass the site, Weddle said.