INGAA Responds to Winter Storm Elliott Report, Emphasizes Need for Enhanced Infrastructure

(P&GJ) — The recently released Winter Storm Elliott Report sheds light on the proactive measures taken by members of the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America (INGAA) to uphold system integrity during the severe weather event. The report, addressing the challenges faced during the storm, highlights the decisive actions of interstate gas pipelines in averting potential catastrophic losses of natural gas and power to homes and businesses.

Winter Storm Elliott, spanning over six days during the 2022 holiday season, led to unprecedented cold weather across the eastern continental United States. The event generated record peak demand for natural gas and winter electric loads, contributing to a supply shortage for both the electric grid and the natural gas pipeline system.

According to NERC and FERC, natural gas production "rapidly declined" during the storm, exacerbating wide-area electricity and natural gas shortages. INGAA members, as outlined in the report, took proactive steps to manage and monitor line pack and system integrity ahead of the storm, utilizing every available tool to prevent disruptions in service.

Despite successful initial efforts, prolonged shortages and high demand created an unsustainable imbalance. Some customers took more gas than they contributed, causing substantial drops in pipeline pressures. This, coupled with low line pack and storage levels, forced operators to implement scheduling restrictions and reduce previously confirmed nominations to prevent the risk of system collapse.

The report acknowledges INGAA members' use of all available flexibility and storage withdrawals to deliver as much natural gas as possible. It also includes recommendations for improved coordination within the gas supply chain and with electric utilities to address similar challenges in the future.

While INGAA supports efforts to enhance coordination and situational awareness, the report underscores the need for increased natural gas pipeline capacity in the United States. The organization endorses the staff's recommendation to analyze additional infrastructure requirements, expressing readiness to build the necessary facilities to ensure a reliable, safe, and affordable supply of natural gas for both current and future needs.

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