Category Archives: science

Pam Lacey Natural Gas Emissions Deserve Closer Study

The study by Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences of methane emissions in the Boston area looked at only that area and confirms much of what we already know, that methane is being emitted from a variety of sources. Unfortunately, without identifying the specific source of the emission it is difficult to draw any conclusions from it.

Safety is a core value for natural gas utilities. AGA member companies in the Boston area and throughout the country are part of a concerted effort to upgrade and modernize our nation’s pipeline network to enhance safety that has contributed to a declining trend in emissions from natural gas distribution systems.

We believe that this issue deserves closer study to better understand emissions associated with the distribution and delivery of natural gas. AGA and thirteen of its member companies have been participating with the Environmental Defense Fund in a nationwide field study conducted by the Washington State University to measure emissions from natural gas distribution systems. The results should be more instructive because this study used direct source measurements and was able to isolate emissions specifically from distribution pipes and equipment.

More than 177 million Americans continue to use natural gas to cook a hot meal, heat their water or warm their houses. Our nation’s abundance of this clean energy resource has driven affordable and stable prices throughout the country.

The Obama Administration recently announced regulations on emissions from the natural gas industry which did not include recommendations for local distribution companies. Natural gas utilities are committed to systematically upgrading infrastructure, driven by risk-based integrity management programs, and there is a growing effort to accelerate the replacement of pipelines no longer fit for service. Proactive efforts from natural gas utilities, along with involvement in important programs like the EPA’s Natural Gas STAR program, have contributed to the fact that natural gas emissions from utility-owned distribution systems have dropped 22 percent since 1990, even as the industry added nearly 600,000 miles of distribution mains and service lines to serve 17.5 million more customers, an increase of 32 percent. Nearly 90 percent of the emissions declines from distribution systems since 1990 are due to pipeline replacements. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), only 0.24 percent of produced natural gas is emitted from systems operated by local natural gas utilities.

In 2014, AGA released a set of voluntary guidelines to serve as a resource for AGA members to assist in evaluating potential options that may lead to further emissions reductions for distribution systems, and AGA is working with EPA to develop a new voluntary Gold STAR certification for the natural gas distribution sector. The natural gas industry is actively engaged in this discussion along with rigorous, science-based analysis to ensure natural gas continues to be a leading solution for our nation’s clean and secure energy future. AGA members are committed to continuing this positive trend of declining emissions, and we look forward to continued collaboration with key stakeholders in this effort.

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Chris McGill Natural Gas Market Indicators: August 15, 2014

With underground storage exceeding 2.5 Tcf by August 15 and nearly 80 days remaining in the traditional injection season, an inventory of 3.5 Tcf or more to enter the winter appears very likely. A strong summer long injection season has been supported by cooler than normal temperatures, minimal supply disruptions due to hurricane activity and continued growth in domestic production.

When the 2014-15 winter begins, the nearly 4 Bcf per day of incremental production growth dating back to the beginning of the year will still be with us and will be a part of supply assets in place to meet winter heating season demand. Efficiency measures will still be putting downward pressure on average consumption per customer and in the local gas utility segment, more distribution pipeline will have been modernized creating a safer system. So many moving parts – and so many moving in the right direction.

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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Lisa O'Leary PSEG to Award $160,000 in Grants to Further STEM Education in New Jersey

How would your non-profit educational organization like to receive thousands of dollars in grants this summer? The Public Service Electric and Gas (PSEG) Foundation is currently accepting applications from afterschool, summer and youth development programs to develop new or enhance existing science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) educational opportunities for students.

The PSEG Foundation, the philanthropic arm of AGA member company PSEG, will consider applications from their New Jersey service territory, as well as Salem and Cumberland counties, and the service and operation territories in Long Island and Albany, New York, as well as Bridgeport and New Haven, Connecticut.

Each proposal will be evaluated based on the following factors:

  • Focus on academic enrichment with already existing programming
  • Strong, relevant and inspiring STEM content with focus on hands-on, experiential learning
  • Emphasis on the application and mastery of problem solving, critical thinking and teamwork skills
  • Number of students served
  • A commitment to continuous improvement, with a focus on outcomes and evaluation
  • Demonstrated level of involvement with local schools and/or families
  • Capacity to implement and sustain new programming
  • Demonstrated program sustainability

The Foundation anticipates awarding funding to eight organizations, although the number of recipients and their award amount will be decided based on the strength of the proposals received at the discretion of Foundation staff. Applications must be completed and submitted by Friday, August 15 at 5 p.m. EST. All applicants will receive notification about funding decisions in late September 2014.

Applicants interested in applying can do so directly through PSEG’s online application by clicking here. Check back with the AGA blog later this fall for an update on all the winning organizations.

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Richard Meyer Natural Gas Market Indicators: Dec. 31, 2013

The newest estimation of the natural gas supply/demand balance from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) recorded in the 2014 AEO Outlook Early Release is a mixture of many interesting observations, modeled results and assumptions. In some cases, the view is more optimistic than it was in 2013. Noting many evolving market conditions, for example, EIA envisions strong and earlier than previously expected total LNG and pipeline natural gas exports. This is supported by a domestic production picture that grows more than 50 percent from 2012 to 2040 on the back of unconventional resource development.

Demographic changes are influencing model results as well. For example, EIA sees a reduction in the growth of vehicle miles traveled due primarily to an aging population. Couple this observation with increases in fuel economy for light duty vehicles and the recipe makes for a reduction in energy consumed in the personal vehicle market from about 16 quadrillion Btus in 2012 to 12.1 quads in 2040.

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.

Reader Notice

AGA is very grateful for the reader interest in our Natural Gas Market Indicators report, which is now marking the 218th issue published. Although we will continue to circulate the document twice per month via e-mail, a new look is in the works and new tools for you to forward the report to others are being developed. Please be on the lookout for initial changes in the format beginning January 2014. Our content and purpose will remain the same, which is to provide you a snapshot of critical natural gas industry developments from a local gas utility perspective. Thank you again for your interest in our market views and your readership.

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

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