What's New at NGA?

April 20, 2018
April is Safe Digging Month
The Common Ground Alliance (CGA) and its stakeholders have designated April 2018 as National Safe Digging Month. This month is dedicated to increasing awareness of safe digging practices across the country and of 811, the national call-before-you-dig number. Throughout the busy digging month of April, CGA and its members are encouraging homeowners and contractors to call 811 before they dig to prevent injuries, property damage and inconvenient outages.

In addition to the national 811 service, NGA reminds its members - and the general public - that each of the Northeast states has a local "One Call Center." NGA has links to all the sites linked through the "Public Awareness" section of its web site, at www.northeastgas.org. Utilize these important resources - be aware - and be safe!

NGA's Regional Market Trends Forum is May 3
NGA's Regional Market Trends Forum will be held May 3, 2018 in Hartford, CT. Registration is underway. Topics to be addressed include:
  • Gas utility approaches to managing system growth;
  • Interstate pipeline and LNG perspectives on market developments in the Northeast, post-cold snap;
  • Status of new technologies to measure methane emissions; and
  • Renewable natural gas.

Look for more information on NGA's web site: http://www.northeastgas.org/eve-regional.php

FERC Initiates Notice of Inquiry into Pipeline Certificate Policy Statement
On April 19, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) launched an inquiry seeking information and stakeholder perspectives to help the Commission explore whether, and if so, how, to revise existing policies regarding its review and authorization of interstate natural gas transportation facilities under section 7 of the Natural Gas Act. FERC issued a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) to examine its policies in light of changes in the natural gas industry and increased stakeholder interest in how it reviews natural gas pipeline proposals since the Commission adopted its current Policy Statement on pipeline certification. The Commission issued its current Policy Statement, "Certification of New Interstate Natural Gas Pipeline Facilities - Statement of Policy" (Docket No. PL99-3-000), in September 1999. Comments are due within 60 days of issuance of the NOI in The Federal Register. Look for further details here:

NGA Launches Annual Public Awareness Media Campaign
Starting April 9th, natural gas public awareness radio and television announcements will run for five weeks throughout the Northeast media market. The announcements are part of the NGA Public Awareness Working Group's marketing efforts to increase non-customer natural gas safety awareness. The campaign this year includes the re-release of the NGA messaging theme - "Being Nosey can keep you Safe". Look for further information here: http://www.northeastgas.org/be_nosey.php

NGA's Annual Sales & Marketing Conference is May 9-10
NGA's Sales & Marketing Conference will be held May 9-10, 2018 in Springfield, MA. It has been rescheduled form its original dates in March which had to be postponed due to snow. Look for more information on NGA's web site: http://www.northeastgas.org/eve-sales-mktg.php

U.S. EPA Releases Annual U.S. GHG Data; Natural Gas-Related Methane Emissions in U.S. in 2016 were 16.2% Lower than in 1990
On April 12, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the updated inventory of its annual data estimates on U.S. anthropogenic greenhouse gas emission trends, from 1990 through 2016. Among the trends noted by EPA were the following:
  • "In 2016, total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions were 6,511.3 million metric tons (MMT) of CO2 Eq. Total U.S. emissions have increased by 2.4 percent from 1990 to 2016, and emissions decreased from 2015 to 2016 by 1.9 percent (126.8 MMT CO2 Eq.)."
  • "Natural gas systems were the second largest anthropogenic source category of CH4 emissions in the United States in 2016 with 163.5 MMT CO2 Eq. of CH4 emitted into the atmosphere. Those emissions have decreased by 31.6 MMT CO2 Eq. (16.2 percent) since 1990. The decrease in CH4 emissions is largely due to a decrease in emissions from transmission, storage and distribution. The decrease in transmission and storage emissions is largely due to reduced compressor station emissions (including emissions form compressors and fugitives). The decrease in distribution emissions is largely attributed to increased use of plastic piping, which has lower emissions than other pipe materials, and station upgrades at metering and regulating (M&R) stations."
Look for further details on EPA's web site: https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/inventory-us-greenhouse-gas-emissions-and-sinks-1990-2016

U.S. EIA Releases Updated Short-Term Energy Outlook
On April 10, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) released its updated "Short-Term Energy Outlook." Among the observations are:
  • "U.S. dry natural gas production averaged 73.6 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in 2017. EIA forecasts dry natural gas production will average 81.1 Bcf/d in 2018, establishing a new record. EIA expects natural gas production will rise by 1.7 Bcf/d in 2019."
  • "EIA estimates that natural gas inventories ended March (typically considered the end of the winter heating season) at almost 1.4 trillion cubic feet (Tcf), which was 19% lower than the previous five-year average. Based on a forecast of rising production, EIA forecasts that natural gas inventories will increase by more than the five-year average rate of growth during the injection season (April-October) to reach almost 3.8 Tcf on October 31, which would be 2% lower than the previous five-year average."
  • "EIA expects Henry Hub natural gas spot prices to average $2.99/million British Thermal units (MMBtu) in 2018 and $3.07/MMBtu in 2019."
  • EIA expects the share of U.S. total utility-scale electricity generation from natural gas-fired power plants to rise from 32% in 2017 to 34% in 2018 and to remain at 34% in 2019.

Look for further details online: http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/steo/

Exelon Announces Plans to Acquire Distrigas LNG Terminal, Files to Close Mystic Power Units in 2022
On March 29, Exelon Generation announced it has filed with the ISO New England Inc. (ISO-NE) to retire Mystic Generating Station's Units 7, 8, 9, and the Jet unit on June 1, 2022. Absent any regulatory reforms to properly value reliability and regional fuel security, these units will not participate in the Forward Capacity Auction scheduled for February 2019. ISO-NE recently stated that it may propose interim and long-term market rule changes to address system resiliency in light of significant reliability risks identified in ISO-NE's January 2018 fuel security report. Changes to market rules are necessary because critical units to the region, like Mystic 8 and 9, cannot recover future operating costs including the cost of securing fuel. To the extent that changes are timely filed and approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Exelon Generation may reconsider the retirement of the Mystic units.

In a related move, Exelon Generation also announced an agreement to purchase ENGIE North America's LNG import terminal to ensure the continued reliable supply of fuel to Mystic Units 8 and 9 while they remain operating. Exelon also looks forward to continuing ENGIE's mission of providing safe, reliable LNG to gas utilities, marketers, and other market participants throughout New England. Transaction closure is dependent upon regulatory review by the U.S. Department of Energy for LNG import authorization and, as necessary, authorization from the U.S. Department of Justice. The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Look for further details here:


NGA's 62nd Annual Gas Operations School is June 5-8
NGA's 62nd Annual Gas Operations School & Exhibit will be held June 5-8, 2018 at Bryant University in Smithfield, RI. Registration is underway for sponsors and students; the exhibit is fully subscribed. Look for more information on NGA's web site: http://www.northeastgas.org/eve-gas-ops-school.php