What's New at NGA?
|March 23, 2017
|NGA Announces Massachusetts Energy Reliability Awareness Campaign
On March 21, the Northeast Gas Association (NGA) announced the launch of a year-long initiative to raise awareness about the importance of natural gas infrastructure to Massachusetts' economy and its essential role as the Commonwealth transitions to an electricity grid that increasingly relies upon renewable energy.
"Massachusetts continues to see rising demand for natural gas in homes and businesses, as a clean and affordable energy option," said Tom Kiley, President and CEO of NGA. "The Commonwealth and the region also fundamentally rely on natural gas for power sector reliability. As more traditional power units retire, from coal and oil to nuclear, including several large facilities in Massachusetts, the need for natural gas is more important than ever. Natural gas will also increasingly partner with renewable energy sources to power the grid. We need to ensure that the natural gas system can meet that demand, through both system modernization and - where needed - system expansion," Kiley added.
Throughout the campaign, NGA members and staff will work with key stakeholders and constituents to encourage implementation of a long-term state energy strategy that balances the need for natural gas and renewable energy resources, including modernization of the natural gas distribution system.
NGA also will release a 'state of the industry' report and host a Natural Gas Awareness Day later this spring to promote the economic and environmental benefits of natural gas.
Remember to Dig Safely - Call before you dig!
In addition to the national 811 service, NGA reminds its members - and the general public - of the importance of safe digging practices. In addition to the national "Call 811" program, each of the Northeast states has a local "One Call Center." They range from "Call Before You Dig" in Connecticut to "Dig Safely New York" to "One Call New Jersey" to "Dig Safe" in five New England states. 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 "Contractor Workshop" to be held April 5
On April 5, NGA will convene its annual "Contractor Workshop" to address current issues in the operations arena. The conference will be held in Saratoga, NY. Registration is now underway; further information can be found here: http://www.northeastgas.org/2017_contractors_workshop.php
Registration Underway for NGA's April 6-7 "Spring Operations Conference"
On April 6-7, NGA will hold its annual "Spring Operations Conference" in Saratoga, NY. Session tracks include: Construction and Maintenance; Customer Service/Utilization; Safety & Health; and Workforce Management. Look for more information here:
NGA's "Regional Market Trends Forum" to be held May 4
On May 4, NGA will hold its annual "Regional Market Trends Forum" in Hartford, CT. Sessions will address gas and power generation, LNG optionality, and pipeline proposals. Look for more information here: http://www.northeastgas.org/eve-regional.php
Liberty Utilities Announces Gas Service Coming to Two Communities in NH
On March 20, Liberty Utilities announced that they have received regulatory approval to provide the towns of Windham and Pelham with natural gas distribution service. The company originally filed for rights to serve the two towns with the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission in 2015.
"We are very excited to serve the towns of Windham and Pelham with low cost, clean burning natural gas," said John Shore, spokesman for Liberty Utilities. "Access to natural gas service will lower energy costs for the businesses and residents of Windham and Pelham and help attract new businesses into the area."
Speaking on behalf of the Windham Local Energy Committee, Mark Kovacs said, "Windham and Pelham are the only two towns in this area of the state who are not currently served by natural gas. We are looking forward to this project that will commence with minimal disruption. The underground infrastructure will follow existing roads and rights of way."
Board of Selectmen Chairman, Doug Vigor, "We believe bringing natural gas to the town of Pelham is a value for our taxpayers, businesses and for the future of economic development."
According to Shore, construction of distribution pipelines is expected to begin in late summer of 2017. The company plans to start serving commercial and industrial customers, along with adjacent residential neighborhoods, during the initial phase of the project, then branch out to residential neighborhoods over a 4-5 year period.
Canada's Natural Gas Exports to U.S. Increased in 2016 - although Exports to Eastern U.S. Declined Slightly
In March, Canada's National Energy Board (NEB) released its annual report on "Natural Gas Imports and Exports."
It reports that in 2016, Canadian exports to the U.S. increased and were at the highest level since 2012. Export prices remained low however, and total export value decreased year-over-year. Canadian imports of U.S. gas also increased in 2016, but remained below the record levels of 2012. Import prices were lower compared to previous years, and total import value declined year-over-year. Exports to the Eastern U.S. decreased 2% year over year, from 9.2 billion m³ to 9.0 billion m³ (0.89 Bcf/d to 0.87 Bcf/d).
Look for further details here:
TransCanada Announces Successful Canadian Mainline Open Season Results
On March 13, TransCanada Corporation (TransCanada) announced the successful conclusion of a long-term, fixed-price Open Season to transport natural gas on the Canadian Mainline from the Empress receipt point in Alberta to the Dawn hub in Southern Ontario. The company confirmed that its recent Open Season resulted in binding, long-term contracts from Western Canada Sedimentary Basin (WCSB) gas producers to transport 1.5 PJ/d of natural gas at a simplified toll of $0.77/GJ. Collectively, customers have signed long-term binding contracts to transport 1.5 PJ/d of natural gas from the Empress receipt point in Alberta to the Dawn hub in southern Ontario, at a single toll of $0.77/GJ. TLook for further details here:
U.S. EPA Releases Draft Annual U.S. GHG Data; Natural Gas-Related Methane Emissions in U.S. in 2015 were 18.6% Lower than in 1990
On February 14, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the draft inventory of its latest annual data estimates on U.S. anthropogenic greenhouse gas emission trends from 1990 through 2015. Among the trends noted by EPA were the following:
Look for further details on EPA's web site:
- "In 2015, total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions were 6,586.2 million metric tons (MMT) of CO2 Eq. Total U.S. emissions have increased by 3.4 percent from 1990 to 2015, and emissions decreased from 2014 to 2015 by 2.2 percent (150.0 MMT CO2 Eq.)."
- "Natural gas systems were the second largest anthropogenic source category of CH4 emissions in the United States in 2015 with 160.0 MMT CO2 Eq. of CH4 emitted into the atmosphere. Those emissions have decreased by 36.5 MMT CO2 Eq. (18.6 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."
Spectra Energy Partners to Purchase PSEG Equity Position in PennEast Pipeline Project
On March 13, PennEast Pipeline Company LLC announced that Spectra Energy Partners, LP (NYSE: SEP), an Enbridge company, has entered into a purchase and sale agreement to acquire from PSEG Power LLC, a subsidiary of Public Service Enterprise Group Inc. (NYSE: PEG), its 10 percent minority equity position in the PennEast interstate natural gas pipeline project (PennEast). PSEG Power remains committed to its 125,000 Dth/day contracted capacity on PennEast (the Project's second largest customer). This acquisition could close in the second quarter of 2017, subject to certain conditions precedent being met including approval by the PennEast Board. Upon the closing of this acquisition, Spectra Energy Partners will increase its equity investment in PennEast from 10 percent to 20 percent.