Category Archives: environment

Lisa Dundon Certified Green

AmGasMagCoverWebOct2 232x300 Certified GreenThe work sites of many natural gas compressor stations, storage facilities, and transmission and distribution lines sit on thousands of acres of land. Thanks in part to partnerships between the Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC) and America’s natural gas utilities, the land has become a healthy habitat for desirable wildlife and vegetation.

The cover story for the October issues of American Gas magazine, titled “Certified Green,” focuses on the ways the WHC helps a range of businesses develop good environmental stewardships practices for their working lands. While many of the energy companies WHC works with are already using the techniques they espouse, having a stamp of approval from an objective third party help build credibility and goodwill with customers, employees and regulators. Among the AGA member utilities that have met WHC’s “Wildlife at Work” program standards, which exceed state and federal regulatory requirements, are DTE Energy, Spectra Energy and Baltimore Gas & Electric (BGE).

Nearly three dozen DTE work sites have been WHC-certified over the past decade, including an 80-acre compressor site and a nearby 2,360-acre underground natural gas storage reservoir. Deer and wild turkey wander on the site of pipes, engines and equipment, while waterfowl paddle around a lake and an on-site cooling pond.

In 2007, WHC helped EQT develop a plan to assuage the concerns of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the local community when the natural gas producer built a pipeline through eastern Kentucky. As part of the plan to ensure biodiversity, EQT used a native seed mix for its erosion control and vegetative cover requirements. Since 2011, when Spectra Energy acquired the pipeline from EQT, the utility has planted saplings along the right-of-way and remained a certified Wildlife at Work habitat.

Beginning in 2008, BGE worked with WHC to “green” its major hub for gas distribution lines as well as maintenance and construction activity. The 72-acre site now boasts the longest continuous riparian buffer in Baltimore and adjacent wetlands, four large grassy fields inhabited by Canada geese and birds, and a pollinator garden full of plants and scrubs for bees and butterflies.

To read the full article, click here. To see more from the October issue of the magazine, click here.

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Kathryn Clay Our Focus on Safety Benefits the Environment

This article originally appeared on the SXSW Eco website as a special guest blog post by AGA Vice President of Policy Strategy Kathryn Clay.

SXSW Eco logo Our Focus on Safety Benefits the EnvironmentAccording to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the pipeline network that carries natural gas to more than 177 million Americans is the safest energy delivery system in the nation. Even with the historically excellent performance of our distribution network, safety is our top priority and natural gas utilities remain vigilant and committed to continually upgrading this crucial infrastructure. Natural gas utilities are regulated by state utility commissions which are charged with balancing the need for investments in infrastructure to provide safe and reliable service with ensuring affordable energy bills for customers and fair returns on equity that will attract capital at reasonable costs.

Over the course of the last three decades, natural gas utilities have installed modern plastic pipes at a rate of 30,000 miles per year and installed catholically protected coated steel mains at 1,500 miles per year, both connecting new customers and upgrading existing pipeline infrastructure. Pipes that may no longer be fit for service are being replaced with ones made from more modern materials. This concerted effort by America’s natural gas utilities to upgrade and modernize our nation’s pipeline network to enhance safety has contributed to a declining trend in emissions from natural gas distribution systems.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 19th Annual Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks released in April 2014, only 0.24 percent of produced natural gas is emitted from the delivery systems operated by local natural gas utilities. In fact, natural gas emissions from utility-owned distribution systems have dropped 22 percent since 1990. Moreover, nearly 90 percent of the emissions declines from distribution systems since that year are due to pipeline replacements.

The effort to modernize infrastructure by replacing pipe no longer fit for service will continue to grow. Of the 38 states that have accelerated infrastructure replacement mechanisms, 9 states and the District of Columbia were approved in the past two years. As those programs ramp up, we will see more investment in enhancing safety and further emissions declines.

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Richard Meyer Natural Gas Market Indicators: Sept. 12, 2014

Total natural gas supply in the United States (domestic production less natural gas liquids extraction and other shrink, plus net imports from Canada and very minor imports of LNG) has been running at about 74-75 Bcf per day in September with total demand (consumption) in the high 50s to low 60s, according to Bentek Energy.

That means that double digit volumes of natural gas have been available for underground storage injections – and that trend has continued for the first half of September. Sustaining that trend could push underground working gas inventories to about 3.5 Tcf to start the winter heating season. With domestic production running 4 Bcf per day higher than this time last year, that adds up to a strong supply position entering the winter.

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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Chris McGill Natural Gas Market Indicators: August 29, 2014

As we enter September, analysts will look for signs of supply disruption during what is normally the most impactful period of the Atlantic hurricane season. In addition, chatter may develop around the status of underground storage inventories. Current views are that said inventories may be 300 Bcf lower (about 3.5 Tcf in early November) compared to the recent past, when a volume of 3.8 Tcf seemed to provide a level of comfort for analysts. Thus a storage deficit. But is that really the right question to be asking.

Recent data shows, and many analysts believe, that domestic natural gas production will continue to grow with infrastructure constraints being overcome in critical areas of the Marcellus play. In fact, many believe that domestic production will grow to 70 Tcf per day by the start of the 2014-15 winter heating season. If that is so, then flowing gas will exceed that of the 2013-14 winter season by about 4 Bcf per day. Over a 150 day winter heating season that means another 600 Bcf of gas supply may be available to the national market that was not available one year ago.

Without another record-setting winter for much of the nation maybe the question should be, how is the market going to accommodate the supply surplus over the balance of the coming winter? The fact is it is never that arithmetic or simple. Demand side questions, such as what new natural gas demand, is now institutionalized are completely legitimate. That is what makes this analysis so fun. Time always gives us the answers to our questions, if we are listening.

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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