What's New at NGA?

April 19, 2019
NGA's "Gas Safety Public Awareness" Campaign Underway
NGA Regional Pipeline Safety Awareness Regional Media Campaign is underway. The campaign is running from April 8 through May 15, using the creative messaging based upon the "Being Nosey can keep You Safe" campaign.
The campaign includes Spanish language versions of messages in areas where significant Spanish speaking populations exist. This year the campaign also involves increased use of digital and social media advertising, including Google Ads, YouTube and Facebook.
Look for further details online:

NGA's "Regional Market Trends Forum" to Be Held April 25 in Hartford
On April 25, NGA will convene a one-day forum to address current issues impacting the regional natural gas market. The forum will be held at the Marriott Hotel in Hartford, CT. Topics include:
  • Remarks on regional energy & environmental policy by Katie Dykes, Commissioner, CT DEEP;
  • Update on gas efficiency opportunities and heat pumps, by Steven Nadel, Executive Director, ACEEE;
  • How utilities are managing system growth in a time of constraints;
  • LNG providers on market opportunities;
  • A roundtable of interstate pipeline companies;
  • And MJ Bradley & Associates with a perspective on natural gas supply chain management.

Look for more information here:

U.S. Natural Gas Consumption in 2018 Reached New Levels
On April 16, the U.S. Energy information Administration (EIA) reported that natural gas consumption in the United States reached a record high in 2018, of 83.1 billion cubic feet/day (Bcf/d). EIA reports: "Natural gas use rose across all sectors in 2018, primarily driven by weather-related factors that increased demand for space heating during the winter and for air conditioning during the summer. As more natural gas-fired power plants came online and existing natural gas-fired power plants were used more often, natural gas consumption in the electric power sector increased 15% from 2017 levels to 29.1 Bcf/d. Natural gas consumption also grew in the residential, commercial, and industrial sectors in 2018, increasing 13%, 10%, and 4% compared with 2017 levels, respectively." Look for more details here:

U.S. EPA Releases Annual U.S. GHG Data; Natural Gas-Related Methane Emissions in U.S. in 2017 were 14.2% Lower than in 1990
On April 11, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the updated inventory of its latest annual data estimates on U.S. anthropogenic greenhouse gas emission trends from 1990 through 2017. Among the trends noted by EPA were the following:
  • "In 2017, total gross U.S. greenhouse gas emissions were 6,456.7MMT,or million metric tons, of carbon dioxide (CO2) Eq. Total U.S. emissions have increased by 1.3 percent from 1990 to 2017, and emissions decreased from 2016 to 2017 by 0.5percent (35.5MMT CO2Eq.)."
  • "Natural gas systems were the second largest anthropogenic source category of CH4 emissions in the United States in 2017with 165.6MMT CO2Eq. of CH4 emitted into the atmosphere. Those emissions have decreased by 27.5MMT CO2Eq. (14.2 percent) since 1990. The decrease in CH4 emissions is largely due to decreases in emissions from distribution and transmission and storage. The decrease in distribution emissions is due to decreased emissions from pipelines and distribution station leaks, and the decrease in transmission and storage emissions is largely due to reduced compressor station emissions (including emissions from compressors and equipment leaks)."

Look for further details on EPA's web site: https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/inventory-us-greenhouse-gas-emissions-and-sinks-1990-2017

Registration Underway for NGA's 63rd Annual Gas Operations School
NGA's 63rd Annual Gas Operations School & Exhibit will be held June 4-7, 2019 at Bryant University in Smithfield, RI. Registration is underway for sponsors and students; the exhibit is now fully subscribed. Look for more information on NGA's web site: https://www.northeastgas.org/eve-gas-ops-school.php

Blacksmith Group Selected to Lead NGA PSMS Initiative
In March, NGA announced the selection of The Blacksmith Group (P-PIC) to assist NGA membership in the development and implementation of API RP 1173. This effort is in response to a request from the MA Department of Public Utilities for MA gas utilities to adopt the nation's first statewide Pipeline Safety Management System (PSMS).

Seventeen highly qualified consulting firms from across North America responded to the RFP issued by NGA in November 2018. The review process led to the subsequent development of a "shortlist" of five finalists, followed by a two-day series of in-person interviews and presentations with each of the finalists. Membership voted unanimously on March 1 to award the contract to The Blacksmith Group, P-PIC, with Managing Director Mark Hereth serving as Program Manager.

The membership selection team (representing seventeen member companies) concluded that the Blacksmith Group brings extensive knowledge and experience with PSMS and more broadly Safety Management Systems. Mr. Hereth and his team at Blacksmith have a proven track record of working with a variety of LDCs across the country to "operationalize" PSMS strategy - creating an environment for behavior change necessary to advance safety culture.

A new NGA Standing Committee - the NGA PSMS Committee - will manage this work, beginning in Massachusetts and expanding to other interested members throughout the NGA footprint.

April is Safe Digging Month
The Common Ground Alliance (CGA) and its stakeholders have designated April 2019 as National Safe Digging Month. This month is dedicated to increasing awareness of safe digging practices across the country and of 811, the national call-before-you-dig number. Throughout the busy digging month of April, CGA and its members are encouraging homeowners and contractors to call 811 before they dig to prevent injuries, property damage and inconvenient outages.

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 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!

PA PUC Releases "Pennsylvania Natural Gas Report"
This month, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) released the "Pennsylvania Natural gas Outlook Report - December 2018." The report reviews trends in natural gas consumption and infrastructure, as well as presenting summary financial data on the state's natural gas utilities. The concluding paragraph states:
  • "In general, it appears that the natural gas industry in Pennsylvania is robust and working to relieve some lack of adequate transportation capacity, both for natural gas and for natural gas liquids. As these challenges are met, and additional transportation capacity comes online, it is likely that production and consumption will resume their previous increasing trends. Natural gas utilities in Pennsylvania are making significant investments in their infrastructure, to ensure that they will be prepared to meet this increased demand in the future, providing the residents and businesses of the Commonwealth with safe and reliable natural gas service."

The report can be found online here:

Summit Natural Gas of Maine Announces Expansion to West Falmouth
On April 16, Summit Natural Gas of Maine (Summit) announced that it plans to break ground on an expansion project to West Falmouth this spring. For the project, Summit plans to invest approximately $4 million, which will include laying over 4.5 miles of gas main from Main Street and Winn Road in Cumberland to the business district on Gray Road in Falmouth. Additionally, there are plans for another 4.5 miles of new pipe to serve residential areas off the main line. Since coming to Maine five years ago, the company has invested more than $340 million to build more than 200 miles of distribution pipe throughout the state. To help lower the cost of converting to natural gas, Summit and the Efficiency Maine Trust presently offer rebates and incentives of up to $3,400 for residential homes and up to $6,650 for commercial buildings. "The expansion of natural gas into West Falmouth will offer many residents and businesses access to alternative energy options," said Nathan Poore, Falmouth Town Manager. "Summit Natural Gas and the Town have been exploring how best to reach West Falmouth for several years. We are excited that expansion into this part of Town is now a reality."