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Gas utilities managing to grow amid woes; National Grid halts new NY gas service

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Gas utilities managing to grow amid woes; National Grid halts new NY gas service

Gas utilities managing to grow, even with regulatory and social obstacles

As opposition to natural gas projects gains more attention, utilities who move the fuel to customers across the U.S. are still finding ways to expand, often by reaching common ground with the communities where the companies operate, a number of industry executives said. Spire Inc., for instance, is on the cusp of putting into service its STL Pipeline LLC this year. The 65-mile pipe is largely "demand pull, not producer push," which helped with local support for the project, Steven Rasche, Spire's executive vice president and CFO, said May 22.

National Grid says it will turn down NY gas customers unless pipeline is built

National Grid USA said it will not provide natural gas distribution service to new customers in Long Island and New York City service areas until New York state reconsiders the rejection of a permit for an expansion of the Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Co. LLC system that would serve National Grid utilities. "While we continue to receive applications for new and expanded firm natural gas service from residential, commercial and industrial customers in Brooklyn, Queens and on Long Island, none will be processed until the permits are received and the project is allowed to proceed," National Grid said in a May 20 email.

Push for rapid gas utility modernization may slow, sector expert says

The push for rapid system modernization at natural gas utilities may be slowing as regulators try to strike a balance between customer costs and the need for infrastructure investments, a utility-focused consultant said. Regulators have increasingly allowed utilities to recover costs of upgrading their systems more quickly. But Russell Feingold, vice president of the consulting group Black and Veatch, told attendees at the American Gas Association Financial Forum that regulators in some jurisdictions may be ready to slow down some of the accelerated investments.

Energy Transfer pipeline explosion put customer out of business, driller claims

Energy Transfer LP has been accused of ruining streams and soiling wetlands while building natural gas and liquids pipelines in Pennsylvania, and now a customer has claimed the pipeline giant put it out of business. That customer, Goldman Sachs-backed gas driller EdgeMarc Energy Holdings LLC, claimed in a May 14 Chapter 11 filing in bankruptcy court in Pittsburgh that the producer has lost the ability to flow up to 50,000 Mcf/d from its Butler County, Pa., wells because Energy Transfer unit ETC Northeast Pipeline LLC could not get its Revolution Pipeline in operation by the first of the year, as promised.

US agency to ask high court to free Atlantic Coast pipeline from legal obstacle

The U.S. Justice Department plans to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to remove a legal obstacle for the 600-mile, 1.5-Bcf/d Atlantic Coast natural gas pipeline and has received an extension until June 25 to file a petition. At issue is one of the major holdups for the Dominion Energy Inc.-led Atlantic Coast Pipeline LLC project designed to ship Appalachian shale gas to mid-Atlantic markets.

Columbia Gas sues Maryland to win easement for lateral project

Columbia Gas Transmission LLC sued Maryland in federal court after a state agency refused to give the developer an easement to proceed with construction of a natural gas lateral project already approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. After failed negotiations, the pipeline company, a TC Energy Corp. subsidiary, filed suit against the Maryland Department of Natural Resources in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland on May 16.