Christina Nyquist Protecting Critical Energy

President Obama and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security have declared November to be National Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience Month to “reflect on the important role our infrastructure plays in building a safe and prosperous Nation,” and to “recommit to strengthening and protecting these important assets.”

Comprising more than 2.4 million miles of pipelines throughout the United States, the nation’s natural gas delivery system is robust, extensive and resilient. It is a vital component of America’s critical infrastructure. Every day, more than 177 million Americans depend on the safe, reliable delivery of natural gas to run hospitals, schools and industrial facilities, heat and cool their homes and businesses, cook their meals, wash and dry clothes and fulfill many other essential needs. The men and women of the more than 200 local natural gas delivery companies that make up AGA’s membership work vigilantly to monitor, maintain and strengthen natural gas infrastructure to help ensure that natural gas can be safely and reliably delivered to the homes and businesses that depend on it for daily life, and to mitigate interruptions from storms and other severe weather conditions, physical and cyber threats and other disruptions.

word map US 300x168 Protecting Critical Energy

Image Credit: DHS.gov

Natural gas utilities are consistently upgrading and modernizing existing infrastructure to help ensure safety and reliability. In addition to continued infrastructure investment, AGA and its member companies have a number of programs in place to draw on the resources and expertise of natural gas utilities nationwide to help ensure that utilities can plan, prepare and respond to threats to security and energy delivery.

Mutual Assistance

During extreme weather events or other disaster scenarios, natural gas utilities can call on the AGA Mutual Assistance Program to reach out to other utilities throughout the nation for additional crews, resources and support. This program sent more than 400 personnel to help New Jersey utilities prepare and respond during 2011’s Hurricane Sandy, assisting those affected and restoring service to the homes and businesses impacted by the storm.

Threat Information Sharing

Natural gas utilities also work to enhance the security of natural gas operations against cyber threats that could result in service disruption, financial, property or information loss, or even injury or loss of life. In October 2014, AGA launched the Downstream Natural Gas Information Sharing Analysis Center, which allows natural gas utilities to access and share the information they need to understand cyber threats, protect their systems and customers and respond.

How You Can Help

We all have a part to play in natural gas safety and in protecting ourselves and critical infrastructure from security threats. As customers or members of communities where natural gas is used, you can help by:

  • Making sure natural gas appliances and fuel lines are properly maintained
  • Reporting the smell of natural gas immediately to your local natural gas utility
  • Calling 811 before any digging or excavation project to make sure utility lines are marked and you can avoid damaging them
  • Paying attention to safety communications from your local utility
  • Reporting suspicious activities to your local law enforcement officials
  • Engaging in smart online behavior and password protection to defend yourself and others from cyber intrusions or attacks. Learn more about cybersecurity at staysafeonline.org.
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Andrew Soto Need Reliability? Focus on Infrastructure, Not Harmony

An article written by AGA Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Andrew Soto focusing on investing in our country’s natural gas infrastructure was recently featured in Power Engineering magazine. A portion of the article is posted below and you can read the full article by visiting the Power Engineering website.

Power Engineering Logo Need Reliability? Focus on Infrastructure, Not Harmony“The use of natural gas-generated electricity has grown substantially in recent years, and continued growth is projected, especially given expectations around natural gas price stability and the potential shuttering of coal-fired generation due to environmental restrictions. But while natural gas utilities meet the needs of the electricity generation industry, they must simultaneously continue to provide reliable services for residential, commercial and industrial customers who use natural gas directly for heating, end-use appliances, as feedstock in manufacturing, etc. These uses need not be in competition with one another given that our nation’s abundant natural gas resources can support growing demand across numerous economic sectors. The key to serving all of these needs is adequate investment in the natural gas infrastructure used to bring the country’s abundant supplies to market. Market structures and cost recovery mechanisms must be put into place to help ensure that natural gas pipeline and storage facilities are built quickly enough to keep pace with the growing demand for natural gas from all sectors.”

For more information about AGA’s natural gas reliability, click here.

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Chris McGill Natural Gas Market Indicators: Nov. 14, 2014

Prices for natural gas at Henry Hub remain above $4.15 per MMBtu for prompt-month contracts rising from nearer $4 at the October month-end close – not unexpected for a market anticipating winter heating season demand. With that said, the domestic underground storage position is strong (over 3.6 Tcf for the week ending November 7, 2014 in working gas) and daily dry gas production estimates are routinely averaging above 70 Bcf per day for the first time in history.

Storage injections are set to slow and reverse to withdrawals, while natural gas demand is inching up with the addition of modest home heating requirements. Analytically, one area of interest to industry watchers this coming winter may be examining demand trends in all sectors, looking at comparisons to the polar vortex winter of January-March 2014. What natural gas demand elements of that extraordinary winter are here to stay? Could there be conclusions drawn comparing the coming winter to that of last year? Might there be key signals in the industrial and power generation sectors? Time and creative analysis may tell.

Visit this link to download the full Natural Gas Market Indicators report. Topics covered in this week’s report include: Reported Prices, Weather, Working Gas in Underground Storage, Natural Gas Production, Shale Gas, Rig Counts, Pipeline Imports and Exports, and LNG Markets.

Please direct questions and comments to Chris McGill at cmcgill@aga.org or Richard Meyer at rmeyer@aga.org.

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Allison Cunningham What do the 2014 Midterm Elections Mean for Natural Gas Customers?

On Nov. 4, the American public chose the political leaders from statehouses to our nation’s capital who will help guide our country’s energy policy for the next two years. While political seats may have shifted, the core needs of the American public, including the need for leaders who can reach across the party aisle to forge workable solutions, remain the same. As America seeks leadership and action on the complex trifecta that is our economy, our environment and our energy security, AGA and the nation’s local natural gas utilities will work with policymakers and stakeholders throughout the country to find ways to secure a role for natural gas as the foundation of a clean and secure energy future.

The 2014 midterm elections ushered in significant changes for the political makeup of Congress. The Senate majority was returned to the Republicans for the first time since 2006, and in the House of Representatives, Republicans simultaneously expanded their controlling majority. While Election Day has come and gone, there are still seats left to be determined in some cases. From runoffs to recounts, the country will be watching the races in places like Alaska and Louisiana for weeks to come.

Image for Midterm Recap Post 300x145 What do the 2014 Midterm Elections Mean for Natural Gas Customers?

Image Courtesy of the National Journal.

 While the majority of elections are over, the process of determining who will fill committee leadership posts is just beginning, including those of committees with oversight over natural gas utility issues. House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) is expected to retain his gavel in the next Congress. With the Senate majority moving into the hands of Republicans, Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski will take the Chairmanship of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Her predecessor in that role, Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA), hits the campaign trail again leading into a December 6 runoff. On the Senate Finance Committee, Orrin Hatch (R-UT) brings many years of experience dealing with natural gas tax legislation, which may help guide policy action on that front.

The votes have been cast and it is clearer than ever that Americans are ready for their elected officials to get to work passing meaningful legislation on a broad range of issues. Regardless of electoral outcomes, America’s domestic abundance of natural gas offers bipartisan solutions for improving the economy, the environment and energy security. AGA and America’s local natural gas utilities will continue the work to elevate the safety and reliability of natural gas delivery as we help our customers find ways to save money and reduce their carbon footprint by using natural gas even more efficiently in their homes and businesses. We will work to help our low-income customers meet their energy needs and work within our local communities to give back and improve the lives of those we serve. We will continue to strive to further upgrade, modernize and expand the more than 2.4 million miles of pipeline that make up the nation’s natural gas delivery system, helping to ensure that our natural gas infrastructure is robust and resilient to meet the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century. And we will work with elected officials to foster a policy environment that allows all Americans to access the economic, environmental and energy benefits of natural gas for decades to come.

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