Valley Energy operates and maintains approximately 205 miles of natural gas mains and 8,925 service lines in three counties covering 61 square miles. We serve more than 9,200 natural gas customers. About 56 percent of the natural gas system consists of corrosion-resistant plastic piping and the remainder is cathodically-protected coated steel pipe.
How it works
Natural gas is an environmentally friendly fossil fuel composed almost entirely of methane. It’s found in deep underground reservoirs and makes its journey from the wellhead to our customers by sometimes traveling thousands of miles through interstate pipelines.
Before natural gas is distributed, it first must be sent to a processing or “stripping” plant where it is cleaned and separated. At the processing plant, the natural gas is sent through a separator where secondary byproducts (including oils and impurities) and heavier hydrocarbons (including butane, ethane, and propane) are removed. Most of these byproducts are reprocessed, packaged, and sent to market.
The journey from the well to your home
As natural gas leaves the processing plant, it enters a compressor station where it is pressurized for transmission. As the pressure is increased, the volume of natural gas is reduced, and more natural gas can be filled into the same unit space while the pressure needed to move natural gas through pipelines is achieved.
As natural gas travels through pipelines, some pressure is lost due to fluid friction caused by the natural gas rubbing against the inside walls of the pipes. This loss of pressure is corrected at compressor substations located every 50 to 100 miles along the transmission pipelines.
How pipelines work
Gas transmission pipelines deliver gas to other pipelines, distribution companies, and in some cases to large commercial customers or electric power plants that may be located near the gas transmission pipeline.
Natural gas eventually reaches Valley Energy through a gate station, where it’s measured and injected with an odorant for safety. Then it’s distributed to customers through our local distribution system of pipelines, mains, and service lines.