The Birth of Equitable Gas and the Natural Gas Industry
The story of Equitable Gas really begins ten years before the company was founded -- in 1878, when Obediah and Michael Haymaker struck natural gas while drilling for oil in Murrysville, Pa. It could not have happened at a more convenient place; nearby Pittsburgh was rapidly becoming the industrial center of the United States, and natural gas was the perfect fuel for industrial applications. And so, a new industry was born -- the natural gas industry.
Among the crowd of new businesses formed to service this new industry was Equitable Gas Company - founded in 1888. Shortly thereafter, the company was acquired by industrialist George Westinghouse to become part of his Philadelphia Company. In the years that followed, the company prospered, extending its operations into the production, transportation and distribution of natural gas.
By 1910, Equitable Gas had 440,000 acres under lease in Pennsylvania and West Virginia and was operating 902 wells. The company also proved to be an innovator in the energy industry with the development of the first underground gas storage fields during the 1930s. The energy provided by Equitable Gas helped fuel the growth of the Pittsburgh area -- an area which became the steel capital of the world.
Equitable Gas became the sole owner of all natural gas properties held by the Philadelphia Company in Pennsylvania in 1947 and, three years later in 1950, holdings in Kentucky and West Virginia were transferred to Equitable Gas. That same year, Equitable became a publicly-owned production, transmission and distribution company. The company’s headquarters was in downtown Pittsburgh, on the Boulevard of the Allies, and the building included a sales area for consumers to purchase natural gas equipment…using the newest technology to ensure efficient customer operations and provide natural gas service to new home developments.
During the 1950s, 60s and 70s Equitable Gas was focused on serving residential customers in addition to its many industrial customers as the region flourished due to the growth of heavy industry and manufacturing. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, the company increased its interests in oil and additional natural gas production as well as the transportation of natural gas.
In 1984, 96 years after its incorporation, the Company’s non-regulated gas and oil business and its utility distribution system were split into separate subsidiaries. The corporate name was changed to Equitable Resources and the natural gas distribution system retained its Equitable Gas Company name.
With the steel industry’s decline causing western Pennsylvania’s economy to stagnate in the 1980s and early 1990s, the company stepped up development of natural gas, gradually increasing its presence as a producer and marketer. And during the late 1990s and early 2000s, the company refocused its core business activities in the Appalachian Basin.
In March of 2009, Equitable Resources was renamed EQT and Equitable Gas Company remained a subsidiary continuing to serve its customers by providing safe, reliable natural gas energy to homes and businesses.
Today, Equitable Gas operates and maintains more than 3,300 miles of gas pipelines. We proudly serve approximately 275,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in southwestern Pennsylvania, north central West Virginia and eastern Kentucky.
Our primary responsibility is to provide natural gas to our customers in an efficient, safe manner. Our service crews are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week and quickly respond to emergency situations. In addition, Equitable Gas Company is a leader in promoting the use of natural gas vehicles in western Pennsylvania.
Equitable Gas continues to proudly serve its customers as it has for more than 120 years.