What's New at NGA?

June 14, 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!

DHS Announces New Cybersecurity Requirements for Critical Pipeline Owners and Operators
On May 27, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced a Security Directive that will enable the Department to better identify, protect against, and respond to threats to critical companies in the pipeline sector.
"The cybersecurity landscape is constantly evolving and we must adapt to address new and emerging threats," said Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas. "The recent ransomware attack on a major petroleum pipeline demonstrates that the cybersecurity of pipeline systems is critical to our homeland security. DHS will continue to work closely with our private sector partners to support their operations and increase the resilience of our nation's critical infrastructure."
The Security Directive will require critical pipeline owners and operators to report confirmed and potential cybersecurity incidents to the DHS Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and to designate a Cybersecurity Coordinator, to be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It will also require critical pipeline owners and operators to review their current practices as well as to identify any gaps and related remediation measures to address cyber-related risks and report the results to TSA and CISA within 30 days.
TSA is also considering follow-on mandatory measures that will further support the pipeline industry in enhancing its cybersecurity and that strengthen the public-private partnership so critical to the cybersecurity of our homeland.
Look for further information online:
https://www.tsa.gov/news/press/releases/2021/05/27/dhs-announces-new-cybersecurity-requirements-critical-pipeline

NGA's 65th Annual Gas Operations School Draws Over 300
NGA's 65th Annual Gas Operations School & Exhibit was held June 8-11, 2021 as a webinar. Over 300 people participated. Thanks to all the speakers, sponsors, vendors, and students! We had over a dozen exhibiting companies on June 8. A special thanks to our 2021 sponsor - Industrial Training Services. Next year we look forward to meeting in person again in early June 2022 in Rhode Island!

U.S. EIA Releases Updated "Short-Term Energy Outlook"
On June 8, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) released its updated "Short-Term Outlook." Among the observations are:

  • "Following a significant weather-related decline in U.S. natural gas production in February, U.S. dry natural gas production rose by 6.0 Bcf/d in March to 92.3 Bcf/d. We expect dry natural gas production will average 92.9 Bcf/d in 2H21 and then rise to 93.9 Bcf/d in 2022."

  • "We expect that U.S. consumption of natural gas will average 82.9 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in 2021, down 0.5% from 2020. U.S. natural gas consumption declines in the forecast, in part, because electric power generators switch to coal from natural gas as a result of rising 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 0.7 Bcf/d from 2020. Rising consumption outside of the power sector results from expanding economic activity and colder winter temperatures in 2021 compared with 2020. We expect U.S. natural gas consumption will average 82.8 Bcf/d in 2022."

  • "In May, the natural gas spot price at Henry Hub averaged $2.91 per million British thermal units (MMBtu), which is up from the April average of $2.66/MMBtu. We expect the Henry Hub spot price will average $2.92/MMBtu in 3Q21 and $3.07/MMBtu for all of 2021, which is up from the 2020 average of $2.03/MMBtu. Higher natural gas prices this year primarily reflect two factors: growth in liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports and rising domestic natural gas consumption outside of the power sector. In 2022, we expect the Henry Hub price will average $2.93/MMBtu amid slowing growth in LNG exports and rising U.S. natural gas production."

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

Kinder Morgan to Purchase Stagecoach Gas Services
On June 1, Kinder Morgan, Inc. (NYSE: KMI) announced that it has agreed to acquire Stagecoach Gas Services LLC (Stagecoach), a natural gas pipeline and storage joint venture between Consolidated Edison, Inc. (NYSE: ED) and Crestwood Equity Partners LP (NYSE: CEQP). Stagecoach consists of 4 natural gas storage facilities with a total FERC-certificated working gas capacity of 41 billion cubic feet and 185 miles of natural gas pipelines with multiple interconnects to major interstate natural gas pipelines, including Tennessee Gas Pipeline (TGP), a KMI subsidiary. The transaction requires regulatory approval under Hart-Scott-Rodino, and it is expected to close in the third quarter of 2021.

"Acquiring Stagecoach will enhance our service to customers in this part of the country," said KMI's President of Interstate Natural Gas Pipelines Kimberly S. Watson. "These natural gas pipeline and storage facilities help connect natural gas supply sources and Northeast demand areas. Natural gas has long been responsible for providing heat and hot water to homes and businesses in the Northeast, and it now has an increasingly vital role as a reliable, low emissions partner backing up growing renewable power generation. We look forward to integrating these facilities into our suite of existing assets in the region."

FERC Issues "Summer Energy Market and Reliability Assessment"
On May 20, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued its Staff Report entitled: "Summer Energy Market and Reliability Assessment." Among the observations in the report are these:

  • "Regarding market fundamentals for natural gas markets in the U.S., summer 2021 natural gas production is expected to increase to just above 91.0 Bcfd. The expected increase would be in contrast to last year's decline in domestic natural gas production."
  • "Natural gas fired generation is expected to continue to play a pivotal role in the summer of 2021 at an average market share of 48% across organized wholesale electric markets, making it the largest source of electric capacity. In NYISO, installed natural gas generators will account for 61% of the total capacity."
  • "NYISO and ISO-NE are the most natural gas dependent regions with over 55% of their electricity being generated by natural gas-fired power plants this summer."
  • "Shale gas production reflected over 75% of total gas production in the U.S. in 2019 and 2020. Natural gas production from the Marcellus and Permian basins represents the largest shares of shale natural gas production. In the summer of 2020, the Marcellus represented 33% of shale gas production and the Permian represented 17% of shale gas production. In addition, the Marcellus shale play has increased production every year since 2016 and will likely remain a large natural gas supply this summer."
  • "All NERC Planning Regions should have enough generation available to exceed their reserve margins, but many regions would face challenges in extreme conditions. In Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO), ISO New England (ISO-NE), and Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC), particularly, in the California/Mexico (CAMX) subregion of WECC, extreme conditions, such as prolonged drought, unusually high temperatures, large wildfires, and generator underperformance, may reduce reserve margins or limit relied-on energy imports, causing operational challenges and increasing the risk of unserved load."

The report can be found online here:
https://www.ferc.gov/media/2021-summer-energy-market-and-reliability-assessment