Natural gas firm expanding in Bucksport

Posted Nov. 21, 2011, at 10:25 p.m.

BUCKSPORT, Maine — Residents in some parts of this Hancock County town may soon be offered an opportunity to connect to natural gas.

Dave Milan, Bucksport’s economic development director, told members of a committee Monday night that members of the sales team from Bangor Natural Gas expect to begin knocking on doors next month in areas where the company hopes to lay down gas lines. Construction on the new lines could begin next year, Milan said.

Earlier this year, Bangor Gas officials had proposed installing 12,400 feet of new pipeline stretching from the Verso Paper plant — which is already a major customer — to the town’s school complex. The company indicated at the time that it potentially would build several spurs if enough homes and businesses pledge to connect to the lines, although the exact route was unclear Monday night.

Bangor Gas has made it clear that in order to expand into town from the paper mill, Bucksport’s public schools would have to hook up to the gas lines.

School and town officials are eager to connect, meanwhile, because schools now consume, on average, 73,000 gallons of heating oil annually. School officials expect to recoup the costs of converting to natural gas in a year and a half or less because of the price difference between the two fuels.

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