Jackie Bavaro AGA Members Celebrate National 811 Day

On August 11, the Common Ground Alliance (CGA) along with the American Gas Association (AGA) and its member companies celebrated National 811 Day to promote safe digging practices and the national Call Before You Dig campaign.

811 is the national telephone number that initiates the process of marking the underground utility lines in a homeowner’s yard. Whether you’re planting a tree, building a deck or installing a fence, a call to 811 is legally required before you are scheduled to begin any type of digging. Due in large part to the work done by the pipeline industry in promoting the use of Call 811, excavation damages for all underground facilities have decreased by approximately 50 percent since 2004.

nats

PHMSA and AGA employees celebrate 811 Day at Nationals stadium.

As part of the CGA’s National 811 Day, AGA member companies and many companies that build, operate and maintain underground pipelines and wires held events and promoted awareness to alert the public about this important service. This year, AGA staff joined representatives from Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration at a Washington Nationals baseball game where Call 811 was the sponsor and messages about calling before you dig could be seen throughout the stadium.

Columbia Gas of Ohio: Ground is officially broken with City of Gahanna with Pat Tiberi and Mayor Kneeland on 811 Day.

Columbia Gas of Ohio: Ground is officially broken with City of Gahanna with Pat Tiberi and Mayor Kneeland on 811 Day.

Additionally, Columbia Gas of Ohio, which has responded to a report of a damaged line more than 750 times this year alone, has asked communities across the state to pledge a simple promise to call 811 at least two business days before digging any project. Meanwhile, South Jersey Gas hosted its first 811 Day ‘Dig Safe Fair’ to inform local contractors and community members about safe digging best practices. Also, in partnership with National Grid, Dig Safely New York hosted a live demonstration on a mark out of underground utility lines at an active construction site in its Eastwood neighborhood.

Excavation damage continues to be the leading cause of pipeline incidents in the United States. Though improvement is being made, thanks in large part to the outreach efforts of AGA member companies, industry leaders and other stakeholders on this issue. If you are a utility and have a unique and interesting way you’re promoting Call 811, let us know in the comments section below or by emailing Jackie Bavaro at jbavaro@aga.org.

Posted in energy | Leave a comment

Chris McGill Natural Gas Market Indicators: August 11, 2016

The average volume of natural gas flowing to power generators year-to-date in 2016 exceeds that of 2015 by about six percent, recognizing that 2015 was a record year for gas to power generation in and of itself. By comparison, consumption in the residential and commercial sectors has averaged 3.0 Bcf per day lower in 2016 (down 11 percent) compared to 2015 due primarily to the incredibly mild winter across the country during the first quarter of 2016, resulting in a total demand picture for natural gas that is down about two percent from the prior year.

To balance the market, production had to fall and has done so by decreasing about 300 MMcf per day on average year-to-date. Balance – that is the theme for this summer – is captured by pricing movements, which started much closer to $2 per MMBtu earlier in the year, rose to near $3 for futures contracts at Henry Hub and have since retreated. Balance – an appropriate theme as we watch the Olympic gymnastics competition from Rio.

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.

Posted in Natural Gas, Natural Gas Market Indicators | Leave a comment

Jackie Bavaro Natural Gas Utilities Working through Differences and Overcoming Cultural Barriers

The cover story for the August/September issue of American Gas magazine titled, “Working through Differences,” explores how a diverse workforce can encourage innovation and overcome cultural barriers, especially as women and minorities begin to make up a large part of the energy workforce.

A report commissioned by the American Petroleum Institute indicates that by 2035, the energy workforce, with its retirements and expanded growth in the industry, will create 1.9 million direct jobs. More than a half million of these new jobs are projected to be filled by minorities over the next decade and a half.

augcoverFostering a dynamic and inclusive work environment starts with attracting talented and diverse employees. To that end, Con Edison of New York has set the groundwork for new diversity and inclusion strategies in 2015. Recently, the company has helped area colleges with large minority populations align its courses with industry needs and even helped found Energy Tech, a grade 9 to 12 career technical school in Queens, New York that focuses on STEM classes. Con Edison has also worked with National Grid to create a natural gas boot camp for returning veterans looking for entry-level work and mid-level mechanic positions. It has also sponsored internships for college and high school students with 114 co-op students hired in 2015.

In addition, Nicor Gas has been working on bringing more women into the engineering field. The company recently hosted the Society of Women Engineers at its Naperville, Illinois office to discuss why women are still vastly underrepresented in the engineering field, and even more so in the gas and oil industries. Cultural shifts at companies where diversity is woven into the fabric have been a key component in developing a successful method to embracing change in the workplace.

Take for example Public Service Electric and Gas Co., who have partnered with other New Jersey utilities and organizations to offer a career awareness program, developed by the Center for Energy Workforce Development, called Women in Sustainable Employment Pathways. This program helps participants prepare for fields in the trades that they may not have seen themselves in previously. Women work on resumes, team building, conflict resolution, networking, interviewing and applications throughout a 40-hour course and then interview for a desired position at the end of the program.

One advantage of having an inclusive workforce is improved customer service when dealing with an increasingly diverse customer base. This lends itself to fostering different perspectives among leadership and ultimately leads to better solutions for ratepayers. Please let us know in the comments below how your company is implementing ways to create a more inclusive and diverse work environment.

Posted in energy | Leave a comment

Richard Meyer Natural Gas Market Indicators: July 28, 2016

Nearly 10 U.S. nuclear reactors have announced intent to retire through 2019. The nearly 9 GW of nuclear capacity these plants represent has a gas burn equivalent of 1.35 Bcf per day, according to estimates from Bloomberg New Energy Finance. This represents the potential upside for natural gas as it fills the gaps created by the shuttering nukes.

Looking at the more immediate, natural gas to power generation reached 41 Bcf per day at times during July. When that occurs net storage injections are usually reduced and daily volumes of added working gas fall into low single digits. Even for a day or two national inventories can indicate as much gas coming out of storage as going in or even a net withdrawal (estimated small net withdrawal by Bentek Energy for July 25).

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.

Posted in Natural Gas, Natural Gas Market Indicators | Leave a comment