Gas Natural, a holding company operating local natural gas utility companies serving approximately 72,000 natural gas customers in seven states, announced that it has completed activation of the first 60 miles of its Loring pipeline, north of Bangor, Maine.

Gas Natural acquired a leasehold interest in the 189-mile Loring Pipeline which runs from Searsport to Limestone, Maine in September 2012. The Company plans to convert the entire formerly liquid pipeline to natural gas, avoiding the significant expense of laying new pipe.

"The Maine market is a key growth region for us. Activation of this first phase represents a significant milestone as we further penetrate this underserved market, giving us access to provide natural gas service to commercial, industrial and residential customers in the Lincoln, Maine region. Lincoln Paper and Tissue is now our anchor customer and we look forward to enabling businesses and homes in this region to realize the cost benefits of clean, energy efficient and readily abundant natural gas," stated Gregory J. Osborne, Gas Natural’s president and chief operating officer.

Gas Natural’s position as one of the region’s leading natural gas distribution companies and its ability to invest directly and via partnerships allows customers, who are presently using higher cost oil-based fuels, to have a more cost effective and reliable energy choice of clean-burning natural gas.

Mr. Gregory Osborne commented, "Despite the denial of our rehearing application, we continue with the activities started in mid-2013 to vigorously implement the changes cited in the PUCO Order. Eric Weldele of the Cox Consulting Group has been helping us with these activities as well as fostering improved relationships with regulatory bodies. Additionally, we have engaged an executive search firm to secure a well-qualified Chief Compliance Officer for Gas Natural who will oversee all of our regulatory compliance activities on an ongoing basis. Accordingly, we are proactively addressing all of our needs in this area while we operationally focus on our growth opportunities."