What's New at NGA?

September 20, 2021
Call Before You Dig - Dig Safely!
The Common Ground Alliance (CGA) and its stakeholders remind homeowners and contractors to call 811 before they dig to prevent injuries, property damage and inconvenient outages. More information is at: https://call811.com/

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 the call centers in the Northeast region here: https://www.northeastgas.org/call_centers.php

Utilize these important resources - be aware - and be safe!

U.S. EIA Releases Updated "Short-Term Energy Outlook"
On September 8, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) released its updated "Short-Term Outlook." Among the observations are:
  • "Henry Hub spot prices in August were $1.77/MMBtu higher than in August 2020. Steadily rising natural gas prices over the past year primarily reflects: growth in liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports, rising domestic natural gas consumption for sectors other than electric power, and relatively flat natural gas production. We expect the Henry Hub spot price will average $4.00/MMBtu in 4Q21, as the factors that drove prices higher during August lessen. Forecast Henry Hub prices this winter reach a monthly average peak of $4.25/MMBtu in January and generally decline through 2022, averaging $3.47/MMBtu for the year amid rising U.S. natural gas production and slowing growth in LNG exports."

  • "We expect dry natural gas production will average 92.7 Bcf/d in the United States during 2H21-up from 91.7 Bcf/d in 1H21-and then rise to 95.4 Bcf/d in 2022, driven by natural gas and crude oil prices, which we expect to remain at levels that will support enough drilling to sustain production growth."

  • "We expect that U.S. consumption of natural gas will average 82.5 (Bcf/d) in 2021, down 0.9% from 2020. U.S. natural gas consumption declines in 2021, in part, because electric power generators switch to coal from natural gas as a result of higher natural gas prices. In 2021, we expect residential and commercial natural gas consumption combined will rise by 1.2 Bcf/d from 2020 and industrial consumption will rise by 0.6 Bcf/d from 2020. Rising natural gas consumption in sectors other than the electric power sector results from expanding economic activity and colder winter temperatures in 2021 compared with 2020."
  • Look for further details online: https://www.eia.gov/outlooks/steo/

    U.S. DOE Announces Intent to Fund Development of Natural Gas Demand Response Pilot Programs
    On August 6, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM) announced plans to fund cost-shared research and development of natural gas demand response (NGDR) pilot programs. If released, funding opportunity announcement (FOA) 2519, Natural Gas Demand Response Pilot Program, seeks to improve the performance, reliability and flexibility of the existing natural gas supply and delivery infrastructure, through the implementation of NGDR pilot programs.
    Demand response programs aim to reduce and optimize energy consumption by promoting more transparent price signals of energy consumption to the consumers during peak demand periods. Based on the success of demand response programs in the electricity markets-as well as a growing number of challenges with natural gas supply-government, regulators and industry are exploring demand response programs for natural gas systems. The programs can also improve system reliability across different demand sectors. The reduction and optimization of natural gas consumption aligns with the Biden-Harris Administration's goal of a decarbonized power sector by 2035 and net-zero emissions by 2050. The intent of the FOA is to seek applications that support the development of up to four NGDR pilot programs. More information on this Notice of Intent can be found here:
    https://www.fedconnect.net/FedConnect/default.aspx?ReturnUrl=%2ffedconnect%3fagency%3dDOE%26doc%3dDE-FOA-0002567%26utm_medium%3demail%26utm_source%3dgovdelivery&agency=DOE&doc=DE-FOA-0002567&utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery

    NGA Undertaking Extensive Industry Safety Culture Survey
    On September 15, an important company safety culture initiative got underway with the issuing of an extensive industry survey. The Northeast Gas Association, the Southern Gas Association, and the University of Houston (an independent third-party administrator) are coordinating a safety culture survey to gather industry feedback and help all parties better understand the safety culture within the natural gas industry. Responses are due by October 22. NGA observes that "over 25,000 employees and contractors across 21 organizations encompassing over 30 individual operating companies are participating in the largest LDC/LDC Contractor focused PSMS safety culture survey ever conducted.

    DHS Announces New Cybersecurity Requirements for Critical Pipeline Owners and Operators
    On July 20, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced the issuance of a second Security Directive that requires owners and operators of TSA-designated critical pipelines that transport hazardous liquids and natural gas to implement a number of urgently needed protections against cyber intrusions.
    The Department's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) advised TSA on cybersecurity threats to the pipeline industry, as well as technical countermeasures to prevent those threats, during the development of this second Security Directive. This Security Directive requires owners and operators of TSA-designated critical pipelines to implement specific mitigation measures to protect against ransomware attacks and other known threats to information technology and operational technology systems, develop and implement a cybersecurity contingency and recovery plan, and conduct a cybersecurity architecture design review.
    This is the second Security Directive that TSA has issued to the pipeline sector this year, building upon an initial Security Directive that TSA issued in May 2021 following the ransomware attack on a major petroleum pipeline. The May 2021 Security Directive requires critical pipeline owners and operators to (1) report confirmed and potential cybersecurity incidents to CISA; (2) designate a Cybersecurity Coordinator to be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week; (3) review current practices; and, (4) identify any gaps and related remediation measures to address cyber-related risks and report the results to TSA and CISA within 30 days.
    Look for further information online:
    https://www.dhs.gov/news/2021/07/20/dhs-announces-new-cybersecurity-requirements-critical-pipeline-owners-and-operators