What's New at NGA?

July 21, 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 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

Canada to Open Border to Fully-Vaccinated U.S. Citizens on August 9
On July 19, the Government of Canada announced it is able to move forward with adjusted border measures in light of rising vaccination rates and declining COVID-19 cases. As a first step, starting August 9, 2021, Canada plans to begin allowing entry to American citizens and permanent residents, who are currently residing in the United States, and have been fully vaccinated at least 14 days prior to entering Canada for non-essential travel. This preliminary step allows for the Government of Canada to fully operationalize the adjusted border measures ahead of September 7, 2021, and recognizes the many close ties between Canadians and Americans. Look for further details online: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/news/2021/07/government-of-canada-announces-easing-of-border-measures-for-fully-vaccinated-travellers.html

NGA Posts Updated "Regional Market Trends Update" Paper
NGA has posted online its updated "Regional Market Trends" paper. It addresses current market, policy and regulatory trends in the region and beyond. The paper can be found online here:
https://www.northeastgas.org/pdf/mkt_update_0721.pdf

U.S. EIA Releases Updated "Short-Term Energy Outlook"
On July 7, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) released its updated "Short-Term Outlook." Among the observations are:

  • "We expect U.S. dry natural gas production to average 92.6 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in 2021, up by 1.3% from 2020, and then rise to 94.7 Bcf/d in 2022."
  • "U.S. natural gas consumption averaged 83.3 Bcf/d in 2020, down 2.2% from 2019. We expect that natural gas consumption will decline by 1.1% in 2021 and then grow by 0.7% in 2022. Most of the forecast decline in natural gas consumption this year is the result of less natural gas use in the electric power sector, which we expect to continue to decline because of rising natural gas prices."
  • "Henry Hub natural gas spot prices averaged $2.03 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) in 2020. We expect Henry Hub prices will rise to an annual average of $3.22/MMBtu in 2021, and we forecast prices will then fall to an average of $3.00/MMBtu in 2022."

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

PA DEP Releases Annual Oil and Gas Report; Natural Gas Production Set New Annual Record in 2020
On June 30, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) reported that natural gas production in the state increased while new well drilling decreased in 2020, according to its 2020 Oil and Gas Annual Report. DEP reported that "production from natural gas wells continues to increase. More than 7.1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas was produced, continuing an upward trend from previous years. This represents the largest volume of natural gas on record that has been produced in Pennsylvania in a single year. Due to the increased volume, Pennsylvania is currently the second largest producer of natural gas."

DEP also notes: "A typical conventional oil and gas well uses about 20,000 - 50,000 gallons of hydraulic fracturing fluid to produce oil and gas. A typical unconventional gas well uses about 15 - 20 million gallons of hydraulic fracturing fluid to produce natural gas. Hydraulic fracturing fluid is comprised mostly of water with a small amount of chemicals to help lubricate and to prevent mold and scale from building up in the well bore. Fluids that return to the surface after the hydraulic fracturing process are generally called produced fluids. In 2020, about 86 percent of all produced fluids was recycled and/or reused in the production/hydraulic fracturing of other natural gas wells. If produced fluids are unable to be reused to hydraulically fracture other wells, they are typically disposed of in Class II Underground Injection Control disposal wells. In 2020, about 14 percent of produced fluids were disposed of in Class II UIC disposal wells."

The report can be found online here:
https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/af368dfb17bd4f219ea0ee22bd4c514a

Congress Restores Methane Regulations for New Oil & Gas Wells
On June 25, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a bill to restore limits on methane emissions from new oil and natural gas wells. The legislation was approved by the U.S. Senate in late April. It rescinds action by the Trump Administration last year to overturn the EPA regulation first enacted by the Obama Administration in 2016. As noted by Bloomberg News: "Trump's methane rule, finalized in 2020, ended the Environmental Protection Agency's methane-specific emission limits at new oil and gas wells, while removing additional curbs on leaks of smog-causing volatile organic compounds from gas transmission and storage equipment. The House vote to repeal that rule effectively reinstates prior standards including mandates for periodic monitoring of some wells and leak inspections and repairs of transmission and storage equipment. Its passage also sets the stage for the EPA to strengthen the standards as well while imposing similar requirements on nearly one million existing wells." President Biden signed the legislation on June 30.