Demand, Maintenance To Keep Gas Distribution Market Stable In ’09

Annual Survey and Report
By Rita Tubb, Managing Editor | February 2009 Vol. 64 No.2

Like oil prices, natural gas prices have dropped in recent months. However, even with the recent decreases in spot prices, the average household winter heating fuel expenditures forecast in EIA’s Outlook,, indicate households heating primarily with natural gas are expected to spend on average $155, or 18 percent more, this winter. The increase in natural gas expenditures reflects the combined effects of a 17 percent increase in price and 1 percent increase in consumption. In the Midwest, where 72 percent of all household rely on natural gas, a projected 17 percent increase is expected in average household expenditures as a result of a 19 percent increase in prices and a decline in consumption of 2 percent due to the forecast of slightly warmer weather than last winter.

More and more companies are finding programs like the Gas Technology Institute’s Registered Gas Distribution Professional (RGDP) certificate program a mainstay to train new employees, distribution supervisors and engineers.

GTI is currently involved in a training program with ConEdison of New York and recently completed a program with Washington Gas Light that provides natural gas service to almost one million residential, commercial and industrial customers in Washington, DC, and the surrounding area through a distribution network that comprises approximately 9,700 miles of mains. Washington Gas brought the RGDP program onsite to train a group of employees. The diverse class included supervisors and engineers from its field operations, gas supply operations, compliance, and construction groups. Four one week sessions – each lasting 4½ consecutive days – were presented over a four month period. Two required courses covered distribution operations and distribution engineering, the latter included piping systems and materials, and system design. Attendees also learned about internal and external corrosion, gas measurement, and regulator station design.

Impact of corrosion

Corrosion continues to be a problem for all facets of the oil and gas industry. The most extensive study to date on corrosion costs was carried out several years ago by CC Technology in cooperation with NACE International and funded by the Federal Highway Administration. The report placed direct corrosion costs in gas distribution at $5 billion a year.

With corrosion costs a major problem, products to control steel pipe corrosion remain a top priority. One solution is a flamespray field applied coating system and application method developed by GTI.