What's New at NGA?

January 20, 2021
NGA Continues to Monitor Coronavirus Situation
The Northeast Gas Association (NGA) continues to monitor the impact of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Our priority remains the health of our staff, our industry partners and members, and the general public. NGA's update on its activities in response to the pandemic can be found here: https://www.northeastgas.org/covid_19.php

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) is maintaining the latest information on this disease on its web site: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

The Biden Administration's Leadership Team in Energy & Environment
President Joseph Biden's energy and environment leadership team is taking office with anticipated new directions in policy and regulation. Among the team are:

Congresswoman Deb Haaland as Secretary of the Interior
Rep. Haaland recently served as Vice Chair of the House Committee on Natural Resources.
Governor Jennifer Granholm as Secretary of Energy
A two-term Governor of Michigan whose work during and after her tenure centered on creating clean energy jobs in America.
Michael Regan as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency
The recent Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, Regan has served in the EPA under both Democratic and Republican presidents and has a distinguished track record of bringing people together across the public, private, and non-profit sectors to advance environmental justice and seek solutions to environmental and climate challenges.
Brenda Mallory as Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality
A former General Counsel to the CEQ and current Director of Regulatory Policy at the Southern Environmental Law Center, Mallory brings expertise working directly with communities and partners across the public and private sectors to solve climate challenges and advance environmental protection and environmental justice. If confirmed, she would be the first African American to hold the position since its creation more than half a century ago.
Administrator Gina McCarthy as the first-ever National Climate Advisor
McCarthy will head up the newly formed White House Office of Domestic Climate Policy, where she will drive an "all of government" approach to combating climate change. She previouslu served as Administrator of the EPA under President Obama, and is a former state environmental director in both Connecticut and Massachusetts.

Congress Enacts Updated Pipeline Safety Legislation
On December 21, the U.S. Congress passed updated pipeline safety legislation: the Protecting our Infrastructure of Pipelines and Enhancing Safety (PIPES) Act of 2021. The legislation reauthorizes pipeline safety programs within the U.S. Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). The legislation was signed into law by the President on December 27 as part of the omnibus spending bill.

In its press release on the new legislation, the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America (INGAA) cited the following as significant provisions:

  • Updates to PHMSA's leak detection and repair and class location change regulations to enhance public safety while minimizing methane emissions
  • Increased funding to federal and state pipeline safety regulatory agencies and new PHMSA workforce development requirements, enhancing job opportunities at those agencies
  • Modernized safety regulations covering LNG export facilities and authorization for a new National Center of Excellence for LNG Safety
  • Strengthened safety regulations covering local gas distribution systems
  • New grant funding for emergency responders, public safety advocates, and community groups
  • Creation of a new PHMSA technology pilot program
  • Enhanced PHMSA rulemaking and enforcement transparency

The INGAA press release can be found here:
https://www.ingaa.org/News/PressReleases/38353.aspx

U.S. EIA Releases Annual Report on U.S. Natural Gas & Oil Reserves
On January 11, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) released the report "U.S. Crude Oil and Natural Gas Proved Reserves, Year-end 2019." Among the observations are:

  • "Proved reserves of crude oil and lease condensate remained effectively the same in 2019 as in 2018 (a very slight increase of 0.1%), and proved reserves of natural gas declined by 2% (Table 1). Although the U.S. had enough extensions and discoveries of proved reserves of crude oil and natural gas to replace annual production in 2019, reserves were revised downwards due to lower prices."
  • "[O]perators in the northeastern U.S. reported significant additions of proved reserves. Operators in the state of Ohio reported the largest net increase in proved natural gas reserves of all States in 2019...Pennsylvania had the second-largest natural gas proved reserves increase."
  • "The Marcellus shale play remained the play with the largest amount of proved reserves of natural gas from shale in 2019. Proved reserves in the Marcellus increased by 4.3 Tcf (3.2%) in 2019."
  • "The share of total U.S. natural gas made up by natural gas from shale increased from 67.8% in 2018 to 71.3% of proved natural gas reserves in 2019. Estimated production of natural gas from shale increased 15.9%-from 22.1 Tcf in 2018 to 25.6 Tcf in 2019."
  • "Operators in Pennsylvania reported the most proved reserves of shale natural gas in 2019 with 105.4 Tcf, and Texas reported the second-largest reserves with 93.5 Tcf. Proved shale natural gas reserves in Ohio were 34.4 Tcf, making it the third-largest in 2019, now larger than the proved shale gas reserves reported in West Virginia (34.0 Tcf) and those in Louisiana (29.6 Tcf)."

The report can be found online: https://www.eia.gov/naturalgas/crudeoilreserves/

U.S. EIA Releases Updated "Short-Term Energy Outlook"
On January 12, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) released its updated "Short-Term Outlook." Among the observations are:

  • "EIA estimates that U.S. natural gas consumption averaged 83.1 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in 2020, down 2.5% from 2019. EIA expects that natural gas consumption will decline by 2.8% in 2021 and by 2.1% in 2022. Most of the decline in natural gas consumption is the result of less natural gas use in the power sector, which EIA forecasts to decline because of rising natural gas prices. These declines are partly offset by rising natural gas use in other sectors."
  • "EIA estimates that 2020 dry natural gas production averaged 90.8 Bcf/d, down 2.5% from 2019. EIA expects U.S. dry natural gas production to average 88.2 Bcf/d in 2021, down by 2.8% from 2020, and then rise to 89.7 Bcf/d in 2022."
  • "Henry Hub natural gas spot prices averaged $2.03 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) in 2020. EIA expects Henry Hub prices will rise to an annual average of $3.01/MMBtu in 2021, limiting natural gas use for power generation amid reduced natural gas production. EIA forecasts Henry Hub prices will rise to an average of $3.27/MMBtu in 2022."

Look for further details online: https://www.eia.gov/outlooks/steo/

ACEEE Releases Report on States' Achievements in Energy Efficiency; 5 of the Top 10 States are in the Northeast; Over 40% of Gas Efficiency Program Investments Nationwide Emanate from the 9 Northeast States
On December 16, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) released its annual State Energy Efficiency Scorecard. Available online at https://www.aceee.org/state-policy/scorecard, the ACEEE State Scorecard shows that the top 10 energy efficiency states are California, Massachusetts, Vermont, Rhode Island, New York, Maryland, Connecticut, Washington, D.C., Minnesota, Oregon, and Washington. All nine of the Northeast states are in the top 20. In 2019, $1.5 billion was invested in natural gas efficiency programs nationwide, according to the ACEEE. Of that, 42% of the national total ($645 million) was invested in the nine Northeast states (CT, ME, MA, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI and VT).

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!