Rice Energy wants to sell natural gas to Ohioans

Tom Knox

Columbus Business First

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The subsidiary of a natural gas driller active in Ohio and Pennsylvania wants to sell its product directly to Ohio customers.

Rice Energy Marketing LLC has applied to Ohio utility regulators to become a competitive retail natural gas supplier. The company, based in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, says it is not licensed to provide retail natural gas anywhere in the country.

It’s the second time in as many months that an oil and gas company has applied to sell natural-gas related products in the state. Shell Energy North America LP, a subsidiary of oil and gas driller Royal Dutch Shell Plc (NYSE:RDS-A), wants to sell electricity to industrial companies and large commercial businesses in Ohio.

“As Rice Energy’s production volumes grow we are actively seeking out new markets and ways to maximize the value of our gas,” Rice (NYSE:RICE) said in its application to the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio. “Also, we believe in sharing in the cheap and abundant supply of natural gas we are producing with the local markets around us.”

The company didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Rice bills itself as “ the premier Appalachian company,” with a combined 336,000 acres in the core of eastern Ohio’s Utica shale and Pennsylvania’s Marcellus.

“We think our Ohio Utica is a tremendous asset poised for significant growth for many years to come, and we’re excited about its growing contribution, both in size and significance to the Rice story,” CEO Dan Rice told analysts last year.