March 2021, Vol. 248, No. 3


INGAA Chairman Emphasizes Climate Goals, Importance of Natural Gas

As a president and chief operating officer of DTE Midstream, David Slater is not only well suited to be INGAA chairman but is also eager to serve in the position he was recently elected to by the association’s Board of Directors. 


“The next year will be a defining period for our industry, and I look forward to ensuring policymakers and regulators understand the indispensable link the natural gas transmission industry plays in delivering our nation’s energy abundance, economic prosperity and transition to a lower carbon future,” he said of the honor. 

Slater brings a wealth of experience to role. In his position at DTE Midstream, he is responsible for the company’s natural gas assets. He is also on the Board of Directors for Millennium Pipeline, Vector Pipeline and Nexus Gas Transmission. 

Before taking his job at DTE, Slater served as vice president at Goldman Sachs and managing director at Canada-based oil and gas company Nexus, an oil and gas company based in Calgary, Canada with worldwide operations, among other positions. 

In this interview, Slater discusses promoting natural gas pipeline safety solutions, defending regulatory predictability and other topics.

P&GJ: What led to your involvement in INGAA? 

INGAA provides DTE Midstream the opportunity to communicate and collaborate with our peers on the important federal regulatory and policy issues that face our industry today. DTE Energy has been a member of INGAA for many years and appreciates the tremendous work of the staff and members.  

I have been involved on the board for a few years now and am honored to serve as chairman during what is sure to be an eventful and important time for the natural gas transmission industry 

P&GJ: How has your participation contributed toward your career success? 

My participation in INGAA has given me a more holistic view into the opportunities and challenges that face the industry. I’ve been exposed to a greater cross section of ideas and perspectives from my peers and other companies across the country.  

In better understanding the policy landscape, I also have a clearer view on the impact policy can have on the economy as a whole; as well as its significant impacts across various sectors. Taking this broad-based knowledge to discussions with policy makers in Washington, D.C., helps me influence the future of our industry. 

P&GJ: What are your goals for INGAA as Chairman this year? 

Natural gas plays an instrumental role in helping our nation and world continue to meet our energy needs while also working toward our climate goals. 2021 will be a defining year for our industry and it will be critical that we, as an organization, demonstrate how natural gas, and the infrastructure that delivers it, play a vital role as part of the mix for a clean, reliable energy future. This is central to our goals as an organization this year, which include:  

  • Promoting the role of natural gas infrastructure as a foundation of our nation’s energy economy  
  • Emphasizing the essential role of natural gas and natural gas infrastructure in achieving national and global climate aspirations 
  • Protecting the statutory and regulatory framework that facilitates a vibrant, market-responsive interstate natural gas pipeline industry 
  • Advancing a secure, reliable and resilient interstate natural gas pipeline network 
  • Promoting pipeline safety solutions that embrace risk management, technology and innovation 
  • Defending natural gas infrastructure permitting predictability. 

P&GJ: What are the most important items on the INGAA’s agenda?  

One important item, which we released in January, is our inaugural INGAA Climate Statement. INGAA believes that climate change is one of the most critical issues of our time and will require all stakeholders to work together like never before to develop and implement sustainable, practical solutions that benefit our shared environmental goals.  

Our new set of climate commitments outline in detail our mission to address climate change and achieve net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from natural gas transmission and storage operations by 2050. 

As an organization, we are determined to lead the effort to modernize our nation’s interstate natural gas delivery network infrastructure with the goal of reducing emissions and minimizing our impact on the climate. 

P&GJ: Is there any concern about the new Biden administration in Washington, D.C.? 

INGAA looks forward to working collaboratively with the Biden administration and policymakers from both parties as we begin this next chapter in our nation’s history. The increased use of natural gas over the last decade has enabled sustained environmental and economic progress with roughly one-third of America’s energy needs currently met by natural gas.  

We believe that any serious plan to address both global climate change and develop a modern, reliable and affordable energy system must include natural gas as a foundational fuel. INGAA and its member companies are ready to work with the Biden Administration in pursuit of an innovative, cleaner energy future that puts the unique advantages of natural gas to good use. 

P&GJ: What is your outlook for pipeline construction over the next two years? 

On the campaign trail, President Biden acknowledged the importance of natural gas in our nation’s energy economy. As the U.S. continues to move towards greater adoption of renewable energy, there will be an increased need for natural gas and related infrastructure to enable flexible, fast-ramping power generation and energy storage to ensure electric reliability.  

So, we remain optimistic that new natural gas infrastructure projects and improvements to existing infrastructure will continue to move forward under his administration as we all work towards our goal of a cleaner energy future.  

P&GJ: Has INGAA focused on methane reductions? 

Absolutely. Minimizing methane emissions is a top priority for INGAA member companies and we have been working for years to reduce these emissions across our operations.  

As mentioned, INGAA members released a robust set of climate change commitments at the start of the year which include the goal of achieving net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from natural gas transmission and storage operations by 2050. These commitments build upon our progress to-date and we look to meet these goals through industry collaboration, investments in technology and the advancement of sound public policy.  

To provide an example of our collective progress: Last year, INGAA analyzed the methane emissions data that the transmission and storage sector reported to EPA between 2011-2019 under Subpart W of the mandatory GHG Reporting Rule. The data showed that between 2011 and 2019, average methane emissions from transmission and storage natural gas compressor stations decreased by 31%.  

In addition to our commitments as an organization, many INGAA members participate in voluntary programs and initiatives focused on minimizing methane emissions, such as the ONE Future Coalition and the EPA’s Natural Gas STAR Program and Methane Challenge Program.

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