EIA says US pipeline capacity adequate for winter

US Natural gas pipeline capacity constraints and bottlenecks could arise during severe weather this winter, but for the most part, capacity appears adequate to serve the needs of the upcoming heating season, say government analysts in an annual assessment of the industry.

By the end of the year, interregional natural gas pipeline capacity will have grown 27% or 20 bcf/day since 1990, with 5% of the additions installed since 1998. At least half the additions were built to accommodate shifts in supply, report US Energy Information Administration analysts. By year-end, the agency estimates the industry will have invested $4.6 billion on expanding and upgrading the system since January 1999.

But new bottlenecks are cropping up. In California, where utilization levels on the major transmission pipelines have been well above 90%, government analysts say the system could reach its limit if demand continues to increase. Service needs in southern Nevada continue to remain at a very high level, suggesting the need for expansion in that area as well, says the EIA.

Capacity constraints exiting production areas in the central region have resulted in the area having the lowest spot gas prices in the US. Expanding coalbed methane production in the region has outpaced the development of long haul pipeline transmission to carry gas to end users. The agency says new gathering systems have been built to move gas from the fields to mainlines, but not enough matching interstate pipeline capacity has been installed.

This winter constraints could occur in the Northeast, especially New York City, Boston, Mass., and in the Leidy area of Pennsylvania, where demand is growing rapidly from new natural gas-fired power plants, the EIA warns.

In the Midwest, completion of the Alliance pipeline could lead to some short-term excess capacity during the upcoming heating season, according to EIA. But not all the transmission capacity scheduled to transport gas to the Northeast will be in place when Alliance is completed. As a result, local Midwest markets should not encounter natural gas supply problems this winter.

EIA says sufficient pipeline capacity is available to serve the growing needs of the Southeast market. New pipeline capacity and LNG peaking facilities in North Carolina have reduced the potential for capacity constraints in Florida and the Carolinas.

The growing market for gas-fired electric generation and extreme cold could produce some localized service limitations in the Southwest US, but by and large, the agency says, there are no apparent constraint problems in the region.

And "because of competition from Canadian supplies in the Midwest in particular has lessened the growth in demand for Southwest supplies, and hence, pipeline capacity serving that region, there has not been a need for any major expansion over the past decade," EIA notes.

Looking ahead, analysts say, while there have been no sustained pipeline outages since the mid-1970s, additional pipeline capacity will be needed, especially in the Northeast, to avoid disruptions during peak demand. Proposals are pending to relieve these problems, but it will be several years before they will be put in service, the agency says.

The agency is projecting new pipeline development will be needed to serve deepwater production in the Gulf of Mexico and coalbed methane production in the West. In addition, EIA says, more capacity will be needed to serve planned new gas-fired electric generation.

Related Articles

PHMSA proposes pipeline accident notification regulations

07/02/2015 The US Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has proposed new federal oil and gas pipeline accident and notification regulations. ...

Quicksilver Canada gets LNG export approval

07/02/2015 Quicksilver Resources Canada Inc. has received approval from the National Energy Board of Canada to export 20 million tonnes/year of LNG from a pos...

Origin lets contract for Otway basin fields

07/02/2015 Origin Energy Ltd., Sydney, has let a $1.3 million (Aus.) contract to Wood Group Kenny for provision of a detailed engineering design for the onsho...

API to issue recommended practice to address pipeline safety

07/01/2015 The American Petroleum Institute expects to issue a new recommended practice in another few weeks that addresses pipeline safety issues, but the tr...

Shell Midstream Partners takes interest in Poseidon oil pipeline

07/01/2015 Shell Midstream Partners LP has completed its acquisition of 36% equity interest in Poseidon Oil Pipeline Co. LLC from Equilon Enterprises LLC, a s...

Shell makes FID on Appomattox deepwater development in Gulf of Mexico

07/01/2015 Royal Dutch Shell PLC has taken a final investment decision (FID) on the Appomattox deepwater development, authorizing construction and installatio...

Woodside-led Browse FLNG venture enters FEED phase

07/01/2015 The Woodside Petroleum Ltd.-led Browse LNG joint venture has entered the front-end engineering and design phase for a floating LNG (FLNG) developme...

Case for Keystone XL has grown stronger, TransCanada tells Kerry

06/30/2015 Canada is taking strong steps toward combating climate change, and the proposed Keystone XL pipeline crude oil pipeline remains in the US national ...

Construction begins on Chinese section of Russia-China Gas Pipeline


Construction has begun on the Chinese section of the Russia-China Gas Pipeline, according to China National Petroleum Corp.

White Papers

UAS Integration for Infrastructure: More than Just Flying

Oil and gas companies recognize the benefits that the use of drones or unmanned aerial systems (UAS) c...

Solutions to Financial Distress Resulting from a Weak Oil and Gas Price Environment

The oil and gas industry is in the midst of a prolonged worldwide downturn in commodity prices. While ...
Sponsored by

2015 Global Engineering Information Management Solutions Competitive Strategy Innovation and Leadership Award

The Frost & Sullivan Best Practices Awards recognise companies in a variety of regional and global...
Sponsored by

Three Tips to Improve Safety in the Oil Field

Working oil fields will always be tough work with inherent risks. There’s no getting around that. Ther...
Sponsored by

Pipeline Integrity: Best Practices to Prevent, Detect, and Mitigate Commodity Releases

Commodity releases can have catastrophic consequences, so ensuring pipeline integrity is crucial for p...
Sponsored by

AVEVA’s Digital Asset Approach - Defining a new era of collaboration in capital projects and asset operations

There is constant, intensive change in the capital projects and asset life cycle management. New chall...
Sponsored by

Transforming the Oil and Gas Industry with EPPM

With budgets in the billions, timelines spanning years, and life cycles extending over decades, oil an...
Sponsored by

Asset Decommissioning in Oil & Gas: Transforming Business

Asset intensive organizations like Oil and Gas have their own industry specific challenges when it com...
Sponsored by
Available Webcasts

Operating a Sustainable Oil & Gas Supply Chain in North America

When Tue, Oct 20, 2015

Short lead times and unpredictable conditions in the Oil & Gas industry can create costly challenges in supply chains. By implementing a LEAN culture of continuous improvement you can eliminate waste, increase productivity and gain end-to-end visibility leading to a sustainable and well-oiled supply chain.

Please join us for this webcast sponsored by Ryder System, Inc.


On Demand

Leveraging technology to improve safety & reliability

Tue, Sep 22, 2015

Attend this informative webinar to learn more about how to leverage technology to meet the new OSHA standards and protect your employees from the hazards of arc flash explosions.


The Resilient Oilfield in the Internet of Things World

Tue, Sep 22, 2015

As we hear about the hype surrounding the Internet of Things, the oil and gas industry is questioning what is different than what is already being done. What is new?  Using sensors and connecting devices is nothing new to our mode of business and in many ways the industry exemplifies many principles of an industrial internet of things. How does the Internet of Things impact the oil and gas industry?

Prolific instrumentation and automation digitized the industry and has changed the approach to business models calling for a systems led approach.  Resilient Systems have the ability to adapt to changing circumstances while maintaining their central purpose.  A resilient system, such as Maximo, allows an asset intensive organization to leverage connected devices by merging real-time asset information with other critical asset information and using that information to create a more agile organization.  

Join this webcast, sponsored by IBM, to learn how about Internet of Things capabilities and resilient systems are impacting the landscape of the oil and gas industry.


Taking the Headache out of Fuel License and Exemption Certificates: How to Ensure Compliance

Tue, Aug 25, 2015

This webinar, brought to you by Avalara, will detail the challenges of tax document management, as well as recommend solutions for fuel suppliers. You will learn:

-    Why it’s critical to track business partner licenses and exemption documents
-    The four key business challenges of ensuring tax compliance through document management
-    Best practice business processes to minimize exposure to tax errors


Emerson Micro Motion Videos

Careers at TOTAL

Careers at TOTAL - Videos

More than 600 job openings are now online, watch videos and learn more!


Click Here to Watch

Other Oil & Gas Industry Jobs

Search More Job Listings >>
Stay Connected