Pinedale Natural Gas was founded in 1993 by Steven Shute, PE and Gilmer Mickey. We’ve gone from a single-man, no-office operation to an office and shop complex with 5 employees. Gas service work is now shared among Shawn Buchanan (Team Leader) and Cory Ralkey and Bruce Wilson. Kim Buchanan (Office Mgr) and Trudy Fry run billing, payments and records, and are usually in the office to direct customer's inquiries.
History of PNG
Pinedale is an authentic Western town at the foot of the Wind River mountains in west central Wyoming. From its roots as a ranching center and seat of Sublette County, Pinedale's economic base has expanded to include BLM and Forest Service headquarters, summer and winter tourism, oil & gas production, and providing services for Jackson (or Jackson Hole), 77 miles to the northwest.
Located just off the Oregon Trail on the west side of the Great Divide Basin, Pinedale is 100 miles north of Rock Springs on US 191. Pinedale is the only stop on this major lateral from Interstate 80, the principal gateway to Jackson and Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. It's also one of the coldest places in the continental US. Temperatures of -30°F are common to this high plateau perched over 7000 ft. above sea level. With only a 38-day average growing season, Pinedale homes can require heat on any day of the year. Great place for a gas utility...
To serve this need, Western Utility was started in 1968 by the local propane distributor Delgado Oil. Propane vapor was mixed with air to simulate the heating value of natural gas, and distributed through a pipeline system throughout the town. This "PA" (propane-air) system served nearly 500,000 gallons of propane per year to about 200 customers. The company was regulated as a gas utility by the Wyoming Public Service Commission.
Pinedale is at the northern edge of the Green River basin, one of the most prolific natural gas production areas in the US. Large gas gathering pipelines operated within a few miles of Pinedale since the early 1960’s, but no gas utility was interested in serving the town.
Pinedale Natural Gas, Inc. (PNG) was formed in 1993 to convert the existing utility system to natural gas. PNG purchased the utility assets of Western Utility Company, Inc. on November 2, 1993 and operated the propane-air system through the first winter, serving 210 customers. In June 1994, PNG installed a 7-mile transmission pipeline from a gathering system on the Mesa. The distribution system was pressure-tested, and all propane-air customers were converted to natural gas service on August 19, 1994.
Gas for Pinedale comes from a gas gathering system operated by Questar. Any water and liquid hydrocarbons are removed, and the gas is transported through PNG's 2.5-inch pipeline to a town border station near the wastewater plant. There, pressure is reduced and gas is odorized and metered into the town system. Each customer has an individual meter and pressure regulator. The PNG system has numerous alarms and a 24/7 emergency response system.
PNG has greatly expanded and improved the original network. PNG converted most propane users in town, and extended its system into contiguous residential areas. Most of the original PA system pipe was replaced, and all meters are new since 1994. In 2006, PNG installed a radio-based Itron meter reading system to quickly and remotely read most meters. PNG connected its 500th customer in 1999, and its 1000th in 2007 and will soon hit 1500 meters. Annual gas sales have risen from 400,000 Therms in 1993 to about 2 million Therms per year. (One Therm is 100,000 BTU’s, about 100 cubic feet of gas or 1.1 gals propane). PNG has expanded its distribution system as the community grows, to eventually serve nearly every home in the Pinedale zip code.
The company is closely regulated as to pipeline safety and utility rates by the Wyoming Public Service Commission. The wholesale cost of gas in Wyoming is generally among the lowest in the US, and is passed through to the consumer, dollar for dollar. The markup or gas margin is based on costs of operation, financing and a return on investment, and is approved by the PSC.
Census 2010 data for Pinedale showed about 1080 residences in town and a population of 2030. The Town and all of Sublette County grew by about 20% in the 1990’s, and the energy boom has almost doubled the population since 2005. The city has about 1200 water taps on the system (the best indication of the number of occupied structures). Several hundred homes are grouped in rural subdivisions within 5 miles of town, and a healthy number of new homes are built each year.
Pinedale Natural Gas is committed to grow along with Pinedale in providing its residents and enterprises with clean, efficient Natural Gas.