What's New at NGA?

May 21, 2017
NGA's 61st Annual Gas Operations School is June 6-9; Registration Underway
NGA's 61st Annual Gas Operations School & Exhibit will be held June 6-9, 2017 at Bryant University in Smithfield, RI. Registration is underway. Classes are being offered in multiple tracks, from safety and customer service to operations OQ and gas supply, storage and transmission. The school also offers a 2-day vendor exhibit which features a range of technologies and product applications - the exhibit is already fully-subscribed. We hope you can join us in early June. Look for more information on NGA's web site: http://www.northeastgas.org/eve-gas-ops-school.php

PA DEP Releases 2016 Annual Report on Natural Gas Production; Annual Output Increased to 5 Tcf in 2016
On May 17, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) released its 2016 Oil and Gas Annual Report in an interactive, electronic format to improve public access to well information. Regarding natural gas, DEP reports: "The volume of natural gas recovered from Pennsylvania's shale plays has steadily increased over the past eight years and much more natural gas remains available for future exploration and development."

The report notes: "In 2016, about 5.1 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of natural gas was produced from unconventional gas wells in Pennsylvania. Although the number of new unconventional natural gas wells drilled in Pennsylvania dropped to its lowest level since 2008, natural gas production climbed to its highest level on record in 2016. Currently, Pennsylvania is the second largest producer of natural gas in the nation (Texas produces the most)." The 2016 report can be found here:


NPCC Issues Summer Electric Outlook - Adequate Supplies Expected
On May 4, the Northeast Power Coordinating Council, Inc. (NPCC) released the results of its annual summer reliability assessment. The assessment concludes that the NPCC Region will have an adequate supply of electricity this summer, based on thousands of simulations covering a wide range of system and weather conditions. For New York City, throughout New York State, and in Ontario, an adequate supply of electricity is forecast. However, under certain conditions, it is possible that New England would have to rely on imports from its neighbors within the NPCC Region, as well as the implementation of established operating procedures to maintain reliability. The winter peaking Québec and the Canadian Maritime Provinces are expected to meet forecasted electricity demand by a wide margin. Look for further details online: https://www.npcc.org/default.aspx

NY ISO Issues 2017 "Power Trends" Report - Natural Gas Remains Key Fuel Source
On May 18, the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) released Power Trends 2017, an annual report that provides in-depth information and analysis on current and emerging trends that are transforming the power grid and wholesale electricity markets. The 2017 report focuses on several important trends, including the growth in Distributed Energy Resources (DER) and the influence of public policies on wholesale markets and grid operations. Among the observations:
  • "New York's reliance on natural gas-fired capacity is expected to grow as power projects using natural gas account for 56% of all proposed generating capacity."
  • "Today, power plants using natural gas total 57% of New York State's generating capability. Within that set of gas-fired capacity, 84% is dual fuel that can use either natural gas or an alternative fuel (typically oil)."
  • "Ultimately, this uncertainty in gas pipeline development underscores the challenges the power generation sector faces with regard to natural gas infrastructure needed to support improved fuel assurance and more attractive pricing."

The report can be found online at: http://www.nyiso.com/public/index.jsp

Governor Cuomo Announces Plan to Reduce Methane Emissions in NY State
On May 17, Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York announced the release of a "Methane Reduction Plan." The Plan presents a suite of 25 actions to reduce methane emissions from the landfill, oil and gas, and agricultural sectors across the state. The plan will be implemented by the New York State Departments of Environmental Conservation, Agriculture and Markets, Public Service, and the Energy Research and Development Authority, in conjunction with the Soil and Water Conservation Committee. The Governor is directing the state's implementation of these actions by 2020 as part of New York State's commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030 and 80 percent by 2050, from 1990 levels. Look for further information online: http://www.dec.ny.gov/docs/administration_pdf/mrpfinal.pdf

NGA Announces Online Safety Training Program for First Responders
On April 13, the Northeast Gas Association (NGA) announced the release of a new online gas safety training program designed for First Responders. The First Responder Natural Gas Safety Training Program is a self-directed, interactive, online training package that provides emergency response personnel with the information they need to safely identify and respond to incidents that involve natural gas pipelines and other natural gas facilities. This free training program was designed in partnership with fire chiefs, safety trainers, educational experts and instructional design professionals. It's a comprehensive curriculum that's dynamic, easy to use and effective. It is based on an award-winning, innovative program first developed by National Grid in 2014. Further information on the program can be found online: https://ngafirstresponder.com

U.S. EIA Releases Updated Short-Term Energy Outlook
On May 9, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) released its "Winter Fuels Outlook." Among the observations are:
  • "U.S. dry natural gas production is forecast to average 74.1 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in 2017, a 1.8 Bcf/d increase from the 2016 level. This increase reverses a 2016 production decline, which was the first annual decline since 2005. Natural gas production in 2018 is forecast to be 3.2 Bcf/d more than the 2017 level."
  • "In April, the average Henry Hub natural gas spot price was $3.10 per million British thermal units (MMBtu), 22 cents/MMBtu above the March level. New natural gas export capabilities and growing domestic natural gas consumption contribute to the forecast Henry Hub natural gas spot price rising from an average of $3.17/MMBtu in 2017 to $3.43/MMBtu in 2018."

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

PA PUC Commissioner Coleman Named Co-Chair of New NARUC Task Force on Natural Gas Access and Expansion
Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) Commissioner John F. Coleman Jr. has been named as co-chair of a new Natural Gas Access and Expansion Task Force, established by the President and Executive Board of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC).

The task force will be charged with developing best practices and recommendations regarding natural gas service for underserved and unserved areas of the country, including, but not limited to rural communities. Commissioner Coleman is joined by fellow co-chair, Mississippi Commissioner Brandon Presley, along with North Dakota Commissioner Julie Fedorchak, who will serve as vice-chair of the task force.

"It is an honor to work with my fellow commissioners from across the country, who share a similar concern about infrastructure issues that limit access to low-cost natural gas for residential, industrial and commercial customers - especially in rural areas," noted Commissioner Coleman. "These issues generate frustration and added expense for our consumers, and compromise the competitiveness of our communities, and we are anxious to explore ways to remedy this situation."

President Trump Announces Intent to Nominate Chatterjee and Powelson as FERC Commissioners
On May 9, President Donald J. Trump announced his intent to nominate two individuals to serve on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Neil Chatterjee, energy policy advisor to United States Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, is to be nominated as Commissioner with a term running until June 30, 2021. Robert Powelson, Commissioner on the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC), is to be nominated as Commissioner with a term running until June 30, 2020. Look for further details online: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/05/08/president-donald-j-trump-announces-intent-nominate-personnel-key