What's New at NGA?

February 12, 2020
Important Gas Safety Awareness Information
NGA has an extensive information section on its web site addressing the important issue of natural gas safety. Learn more here about safe operations of natural gas:

NARUC Releases Report on National and State Efforts in Natural Gas Distribution Infrastructure Replacement and Modernization
On February 7, the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) released a new informational handbook summarizing natural gas distribution infrastructure replacement programs in 41 states and the District of Columbia. Using data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, the handbook cites substantial progress in replacing aging bare steel and cast iron main miles and service counts across the U.S. in recent years. However, bare steel and cast iron still account for 5.1 percent of main miles and 2.7 percent of service lines, demonstrating the need for continued action on infrastructure replacement. Look for the report online: https://pubs.naruc.org/pub/45E90C1E-155D-0A36-31FE-A68E6BF430EE

U.S. EPA Releases Draft Annual GHG Data; Natural Gas-Related Methane Emissions in U.S. in 2018 were 23.8% Lower than in 1990
On February 12, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the draft inventory of its latest annual data estimates on U.S. anthropogenic greenhouse gas emission trends, from 1990 through 2018. Among the trends noted by EPA were the following:
  • "In 2018, total gross U.S. greenhouse gas emissions were 6,677.8 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MMT of CO2 Eq). Total U.S. emissions have increased by 3.7 percent from 1990 to 2018, down from a high of 15.2 percent above 1990 levels in 2007."
  • "Natural gas systems were the second largest anthropogenic source category of CH4 emissions in the United States in 2018 with 139.7 MMT CO2 Eq. of CH4 emitted into the atmosphere. Those emissions have decreased by 43.6 MMT CO2 Eq. (23.8 percent) since 1990. The decrease in CH4 emissions is largely due to a decrease in emissions from transmission, storage and distribution. 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 form compressors and equipment leaks."

Look for further details on EPA's web site:

Liberty Utilities Submits Petition for Regulatory Approval of its Proposed Acquisition of Blackstone Gas
On January 15, Liberty Utilities submitted a petition to the MA Department of Public Utilities ("Department") for approval of the acquisition of Blackstone Gas Company, as set forth in an Agreement and Plan of Merger ("Agreement") dated October 31, 2019. The Department docketed this matter as D.P.U.20-03. Liberty states that upon closing of the transaction, the Blackstone Gas corporate entity will merge with and into Liberty Utilities, and the separate corporate existence of Blackstone Gas will cease to exist. Blackstone Gas serves about 2,000 customers in three communities in Massachusetts, close to the Rhode Island border. The Department will conduct a public hearing on Liberty Utilities' petition on March 4.

Canadian Natural Gas Pipeline Exports to U.S. Declined Slightly in 2019
Canada's Energy Regulator (CER) has reported that Canada's natural gas pipeline exports to the U.S. slightly decreased in 2019, from 2.8 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) in 2018 to 2.7 Tcf in 2019. Exports to the eastern U.S. also declined slightly in 2019, from 305 billion cubic feet (Bcf) in 2018 to 301 Bcf in 2019. Look for more information here: https://apps.cer-rec.gc.ca/CommodityStatistics/Statistics.aspx?language=english

U.S. EIA Releases Updated Short-Term Energy Outlook
On February 11, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) released its updated "Short-Term Energy Outlook." Among the observations:
  • "As of February 6, the Henry Hub spot price had fallen to $1.86/MMBtu, and EIA expects prices will remain below $2.00/MMBtu in February and March. EIA forecasts that prices will rise in the second quarter of 2020, as U.S. natural gas production declines and natural gas use for power generation increases the demand for gas. EIA expects prices to average $2.36/MMBtu in the third quarter of 2020. EIA forecasts that Henry Hub natural gas spot prices will average $2.21/MMBtu in 2020. EIA expects that natural gas prices will then increase in 2021, reaching an annual average of $2.53/MMBtu."
  • "U.S. dry natural gas production set a record in 2019, averaging 92.1 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d). Although EIA forecasts dry natural gas production will average 94.2 Bcf/d in 2020, a 2% increase from 2019, EIA expects monthly production to generally decline through 2020, falling from an estimated 95.4 Bcf/d in January to 92.5 Bcf/d in December. The falling production mostly occurs in the Appalachian and Permian regions. In the Appalachia region, low natural gas prices are discouraging natural gas-directed drilling, and in the Permian, low oil prices are expected to reduce associated gas output from oil-directed wells. In 2021, EIA forecasts dry natural gas production to stabilize near December 2020 levels at an annual average of 92.6 Bcf/d, a 2% decline from 2020, which would be the first decline in annual average natural gas production since 2016."
  • "After decreasing by 2.3% in 2019, EIA forecasts that energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions will decrease by 2.7% in 2020 and by 0.5% in 2021.

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

NGA's Contractor Workshop is April 1
NGA's Contractor Workshop will be held April 1, 2020 in Saratoga, NY. Registration is underway. Look for more information online: https://www.northeastgas.org/2020_contractors_workshop.php

NGA's Spring Operations Conference is April 2-3
NGA's Spring Operations Conference will be held April 2-3, 2020 in Saratoga, NY. Registration is underway. This year's conference will address such topics as:
  • Construction and Maintenance
  • Customer Service/Utilization
  • Employee/Public Safety Management
  • Workforce Management

This year's program also includes a new one-day track (on April 2) focused on Pipeline Safety Management Systems, or PSMS.

Look for more information online: https://www.northeastgas.org/2020_spring_ops_conf.php

SGA Presenting Supply Chain Management Conference in February
NGA is pleased to be a co-sponsor of an upcoming conference on Supply Chain Management. The conference is being organized by the Southern Gas Association (SGA) and will be held February 26-28, 2020 in Lost Pines, TX. The conference will bring together supply chain professionals from natural gas midstream, pipeline, and distribution companies with businesses that provide goods and services to the industry. Educational sessions will focus on strategic supply chain and project development challenges impacting natural gas operators. Look for further information online: https://southerngas.org/index.php/interest-groups/1222

NGA's 64th Annual Gas Operations School & Exhibit is June 2-5
NGA's 64th Annual Gas Operations School & Exhibit will be held June 2-5, 2020 at Bryant University in Smithfield, RI. The 2-day exhibit for industry vendors is already fully subscribed. Look for more information on NGA's web site: http://www.northeastgas.org/gasops_exhibit_reg.php