April 2018, Vol.245, No.4

In the News

In the News

AGA to Host Young Professionals Program at 2018 World Gas Conference 

The American Gas Association (AGA) will host a Young Professionals Program during the 27th annual World Gas Conference on June 25-29 in Washington, D.C. The program provides an opportunity for promising young professionals in the energy sector to learn from leaders in the natural gas industry and network with their peers throughout the world. 

“This program will open doors for exemplary young professionals who are shaping the future of the natural gas industry. We are seeking participants globally who are passionate about learning and continuing to contribute their skills and leadership abilities to the energy sector. We hope that they will utilize the workshops and networking opportunities as they inspire the natural gas industry for years to come,” said Chief Operating Officer Lori Traweek, of the AGA.

The agenda will include panel discussions that will focus on preparing for an evolving career, recruiting the next generation of industry leaders, and global perspectives on the future of natural gas.

TransCanada Moves Forward on NGTL Line

Pipeline operator TransCanada said it would go ahead with the C$2.4 billion (US$1.9 billion) expansion of its Nova Gas Transmission Line (NGTL) natural gas system, boosting pipeline access for producers in Western Canada’s gas-rich basins.   

TransCanada said the expansion of its NGTL, which moves gas from Alberta and British Columbia to markets all over North America, will boost basin export capacity by 1 Bcf/d.  

The expansion will also connect new supply in the Montney and Duvernay formations, which Canadian producers and global oil majors say could rival the most prolific U.S. shale fields. Development has so far been hampered by weak prices and limited pipeline capacity. 

TransCanada also said it now expects to start construction on its $8 billion Keystone XL expansion in 2019, with the build taking about two years to complete. Nebraska regulators approved the project last year, but not TransCanada’s preferred route, choosing instead a more costly alternative. 

Infrastructure Plan Targets Speeding Up Pipelines

The administration’s recently released infrastructure proposal would speed up the permitting of U.S. natural gas pipelines, in part, by cutting Congress out of the process for allowing them to cross national parks. 

The proposal fits into broader plans to boost U.S. oil and gas development by slashing red tape, something that has cheered industry, but raised concerns among environmentalists and Democratic lawmakers.

The plan aims to speed up the time that a state has to issue water permits – “Section 401” certificates required under the federal Clean Water Act – needed for the construction of interstate natural gas pipelines.

The changes would deliver “projects in a less costly and more time effective manner by creating a new, expedited structure for environmental reviews and delegating more decision-making to States and enhancing coordination between State and Federal reviews,” the proposal says. The proposals are part of a larger infrastructure plan designed to encourage spending on improvements by states, localities and private investors, but which faces an uphill battle in Congress.

US Trade Probe Targets Welded Pipe: Commerce Department

The United States is investigating whether manufacturers in Canada, China, Greece, India, Korea and Turkey are dumping large-diameter welded pipe into U.S. markets or are being unfairly subsidized by their governments, the Commerce Department said. 

“Dumping” is the practice of selling goods at below market price. If the government makes a preliminary finding that dumping or unfair subsidies are taking place it will begin collecting cash deposits from U.S. companies importing the pipe, the department said. The probe covers welded carbon and alloy steel pipe larger than 16 inches in diameter. The pipe is generally used to transport oil, natural gas, slurry and steam and for piling, the department said.

The Commerce Department estimated that in 2016 imports of large-diameter welded pipe from Canada had a value of $66 million, China $139 million, India $26 million, Greece $70 million, Korea $150.3 million, and Turkey $116.1 million.

New Rules for Oil and Gas Pipelines in Colorado

Colorado regulators recently approved new rules for thousands of oil and gas pipelines after investigators blamed a leaking pipeline for a fatal gas explosion that occurred in 2017. 

The regulations set requirements for installing, testing and shutting down flow lines, which carry oil and gas from wells to nearby equipment. They also require energy companies to report the locations of many pipelines to regulators. 

The rules are intended to prevent a repeat of the explosion that killed two people, injured a third and destroyed a house in the town of Firestone, about 30 miles (50 km) north of Denver. Investigators said the explosion was caused by odorless, unrefined natural gas from a severed flow line. 

The new regulations say flow lines that are permanently taken out of service must be disconnected, drained and sealed at both ends and any above-ground portion must be removed. The rules also allow energy companies to simply remove the lines.

PG&E Meets Clean Energy Goal Ahead of Schedule

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) said 80% of the electricity it delivered in 2017 came from “greenhouse-gas free” (GHG) resources, achieving a state-mandated goal three years ahead of schedule.

A third of PG&E’s electricity came from renewable resources, including solar, wind, geothermal, biomass and small hydroelectric sources, the company said, while 78.8 percent came from GHG-free sources, including nuclear, large hydro and renewable sources of energy.  PG&E received approval earlier this year to close its Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant in 2025 and plans to replace it with other clean and renewable sources of energy.

California has mandated that all energy companies reach 33% of retail electric deliveries from eligible renewable sources by 2020 and 50% by 2030.  PG&E said it is on pace to achieve the California requirement and its own goal of 55% renewables by 2031 ahead of schedule. 

New Mexico Having a Record Production Year

Oil producers have set a record for the number of barrels pumped last year in New Mexico, and industry experts said that output from the basin that straddles the Texas-New Mexico border is expected to double over the next several years.

Data from the U.S. Energy Information Association and an industry group that represents hundreds of producers in New Mexico show a record 172 million barrels of oil were produced in 2017. That is double New Mexico’s output in 2011 and tops the 147 million barrels set in 2015.

New Mexico also finished the year producing more than 17 million barrels in December to maintain its position as the third-largest oil-producing state. Texas and North Dakota lead the nation.

The surge has continued into 2018 as the federal energy analysts estimate that overall U.S. crude oil production averaged 10.3 million barrels a day in February. P&GJ

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