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America’s energy story – part 1

Published by
World Pipelines,

With over 300 000 miles of natural gas transmission pipeline, the US is, in many ways, the envy of the world when it comes to its pipeline network.

Natural gas pipeline expansion in recent years has been driven by the enormous success of new drilling technologies that have allowed the US to access previously inaccessible shale gas resources. Much of this supply is in the Marcellus Basin, a prolific basin located in the northeast, which is an area that has not experienced major oil and gas production in over 100 years.

This new supply has resulted in a ‘replumbing’ of the US gas network. Whereas a decade ago most natural gas flowed north from the Gulf of Mexico and Gulf Coast region to markets along the east coast, west coast and northern part of the nation; pipelines are now being reversed, expanded and extended to allow northeast gas to feed markets that once fed them. Northeast gas is flowing to both nearby markets (like New England and the Mid-Atlantic) and to the Gulf Coast region, where it is being used to fuel a newly revitalised chemical manufacturing industry or converted into LNG and shipped abroad.

Thanks to abundant shale gas resources and a dynamic pipeline network, the US is exporting to Mexico and Canada and also expanding its domestic natural gas markets.

But despite all the benefits of a robust natural gas pipeline network, from lower consumer energy prices to a resurgence in US manufacturing to cleaner air, it has become increasingly difficult to expand or build new pipelines in the nation. The US economy could benefit even more if additional pipelines were built or expanded to help alleviate capacity constraints and feed new areas with natural gas, but a small portion of the American public has vocally opposed all pipelines, resulting in delays in permitting and development.

INGAA’s role

The Interstate Natural Gas Association of America (INGAA) is working to explain the benefits of natural gas and pipelines. It is working to develop a network of supporters to promote pipelines and ensure that those projects found to be in the public need enter service in a timely manner.

On Capitol Hill, the association educates lawmakers and their staff about pipelines, working to promote legislation to streamline permitting, while ensuring that the environment and communities are protected. As the Trump administration seeks to dedicate resources to rebuilding US infrastructure, INGAA is working to ensure that energy infrastructure is included in any infrastructure legislation. Unlike other systems, this important pipeline infrastructure is built with private, not government, funds, but it still leads to jobs and economic development like any infrastructure project.

INGAA works with the industry’s economic regulator, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), and its safety regulator, the Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), to encourage government regulations that protect the public while bringing the benefits of natural gas to the American people.

INGAA also runs a strategic communications campaign called America’s Energy Link to promote pipelines, which discusses the economic, environmental and safety benefits of pipelines, and encourages Americans to stand up in support of this important infrastructure. America’s Energy Link also explains that natural gas touches everyone’s life. About one third of the natural gas produced in the US is used to manufacture goods we use every day.

Part 2 coming soon!

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