PHMSA Considering Additional Pipeline Safety Changes

March 2012, Vol. 67 No. 3

The bill covers lots of ground. It reauthorizes federal transportation funding for highways and the like and also eliminates some federal restrictions on oil and gas development. The oil and gas provisions passed by the Natural Resources Committee were divided up into three separate bills, all of which passed with unanimous Republican support and one or two Democrat votes. Those three energy bills require:
• President Obama to move forward with new offshore energy production in areas containing the most oil and natural gas resources that he placed off limits for drilling after taking office;
• Open less than 3 percent of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in Alaska to responsible energy development by directing the Interior Secretary to establish lease sales in the North Slope; and
• Clear rules for the development of U.S. oil shale resources and promoting shale development of U.S. oil shale resources and promoting shale technology research and development.

Gulf South, shippers battling at FERC
Gulf South, a major transmission line in the South, is battling the likes of Devon, BP America Production Company and intrastate provider Atmos, to mention a few of its opponents, in an effort to convince FERC to let it go to a daily allocation system. Whatever decision FERC makes probably won't set a precedent with regard to pipeline rates, especially because these kinds of requests from pipelines have been made in the past. But one never knows.

Suffice it to say that tempers are high, and there are a lot of dollars at issue. Gulf South says it wants to go to a daily allocation systems, which is used by its sister companies Gulf Crossing Pipeline Company LLC and Texas Gas Transmission LLC, to more accurately accommodate the current marketplace, in which gas transmission is normally conducted on a daily or intra-day basis.

When Gulf South restructured under Order No. 636, it implemented monthly allocations and monthly balancing. Monthly allocations were appropriate at that time because of the large number of meters on the system that were not capable of providing daily measurement information and different market needs. Through the use of electronic flow measurement technology, Gulf South now can easily provide customers with daily information necessary to manage daily allocations.