LDCs Continue To Upgrade Gas Network

Gas Distribution Report
By Rita Tubb, Executive Editor | February 2014, Vol. 69 No. 2

As to consumption, the EIA expects that natural gas consumption, which averaged 69.7 Bcf/d in 2012, will average 70.0 Bcf/d and 69.4 Bcf/d in 2013 and 2014, respectively. Colder winter temperatures in 2013 and 2014 (compared with the record-warm temperatures in 2012) are expected to increase the amount of natural gas used for residential and commercial space heating. However, the projected year-over-year increases in natural gas prices contribute to declines in natural gas used for electric power generation from 25.0 Bcf/d in 2012 to 22.1 Bcf/d in 2013 and 21.6 Bcf/d in 2014.

LDCs rely on a host of safety systems, including supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems, to ensure efficient and effective service at all times. These systems can integrate gas flow control and measurement with other accounting, billing and contract systems to provide a comprehensive measurement and control system for the local gas utility. This allows accurate, timely information on the status of the distribution network to be used by the utility, to ensure efficient and effective service at all times.

The LDC also relies on sophisticated leak detection equipment and odorants to make it easier to detect a leak.

Certainly the nationwide “call-before-you-dig” phone number of “811” (adopted in 2008) has proved to be an essential tool by providing customers, contractors and excavators with a single phone number to call before beginning excavation or construction, to ensure that pipelines and other buried facilities are not damaged.

These are but a few of the safety measures maintained by local distribution companies.

Continued efforts to upgrade and modernize the natural gas pipeline network show a declining trend for natural gas emissions. According to EPA data, less than 1.5 percent of natural gas is emitted as it travels from where it is produced to homes and businesses. Of that, only 0.3 percent is emitted from systems operated by local natural gas utilities. Distribution system emissions have reportedly dropped 16 percent since 1990, even as the industry added nearly 300,000 miles of distribution mains to serve 17 million more customers – an increase of 30 percent in both cases.