Federal safety agency struggling to meet goals for inspecting gas storage sites
A federal safety regulator may fall short of its goal of inspecting hundreds of natural gas storage sites, a target it set following a massive 2015 gas leak, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office. The U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration appears to lack the resources necessary to conduct inspections at about 400 sites by early 2023, the GAO said in an Oct. 16 report.
Clean Water Act ruling makes state reviews shorter but not safer for pipelines
Guidance from a federal court on Clean Water Act requirements could force state agencies to be more punctual in their reviews of natural gas pipeline projects, but states that do not want more fossil fuel infrastructure in their territory will still have ways to thwart these projects. The court's guidance reset the board for pipeline companies applying to states for Clean Water Act Section 401 water quality certification. States such as New York and New Jersey have used the permit process to deny authorization for pipeline projects that have been approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
NY regulators blast National Grid over gas service denials
National Grid USA faced criticism from New York regulators during a contentious state Public Service Commission meeting, the latest flare-up in an ongoing dispute over the utility's natural gas moratorium in New York City and Long Island. Four of five commissioners voted during an Oct. 17 meeting to adopt an order that paves the way for fines against National Grid over its denial of service to more than 1,000 customers.
DOE OKs Venture Global's Plaquemines LNG project to export to non-FTA countries
The U.S. Department of Energy approved Venture Global LNG's Plaquemines LNG project to export to countries that do not have a free trade agreement with the U.S., bringing the country close to a total of 40 Bcf/d of natural gas authorized for export to non-FTA countries. An Oct. 16 order from the DOE allowed the export of LNG equivalent to 3.4 Bcf/d of gas from the Plaquemines LNG project in Plaquemines Parish, La., about 20 miles from the Port of New Orleans.
Mountain Valley Pipeline faces stay in Endangered Species Act case
In a decision likely to delay construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline LLC project for at least three months, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit granted a stay Oct. 11 in a case involving alleged violations of the Endangered Species Act. Under the 4th Circuit ruling, the federal Endangered Species Act case will be held in abeyance until Jan. 11, 2020, pending the completion of a re-consultation between the Fish and Wildlife Service and FERC.
Williams may get 2nd bite in appeal of Texas commission's flaring decision
Pipeline giant Williams Cos. Inc.'s attempt to be the first party to block a flaring permit before the Texas Railroad Commission has a chance for new life, after the commission added the company's motion for rehearing to the agenda for its Oct. 22 meeting in Austin, Texas. Williams asked the Railroad Commission to reopen the case and let its staff and an administrative law judge take a second look at the evidence and break precedent with past practice.
North Dakota increases oil, gas production in August
Daily production of oil and gas in North Dakota increased month over month in August, with a total of 2,397 wells idle during the month. Gas producers reported 93.4 Bcf during the month, or about 3.0 Bcf/d, based on preliminary figures released by the North Dakota Industrial Commission.