Slide 9 of 17
Natural Gas Transmission Outlook, 2000-01 Heating Season: In the "Status of Natural Gas Pipeline System Capacity Entering the 2000-2001 Heating Season" (http://www.eia.gov/oil_gas/natural_gas/feature_ articles/nat_feature articles.html), EIA concluded that absent an extremely cold upcoming heating season and other unforeseen situations, the nation's natural gas interstate pipeline infrastructure appears more than adequate to meet the differing regional market demand requirements that are likely to be placed upon it. The conclusion was based on a number of factors, including the amount of surplus transportation capacity as suggested by usage rates on interregional pipeline systems (see table). In addition, the opening of the Alliance Pipeline in Canada, now expected for the first week in December, will improve the U.S. supply picture by an eventual 1.3 Bcf per day through enhanced deliveries from the Midwest to New England. There are some points on the system, though, where the potential exists for temporary capacity constraints during heavy demand periods:
In the New York City area, capacity constraint problems have occurred in recent years during periods of unusual weather.
- In the Boston area, where pipeline capacity is already heavily utilized, demand has been growing and is expected to grow rapidly over the next several years, especially from developers of gas-fired power generation plants.
- The Leidy area of north central Pennsylvania, where a number of major interstate natural gas pipelines interconnect, has the potential to become a constraint point for pipeline gas flowing to the East Coast, and particularly into the northern New Jersey, New York City area.
- Portions of the Western Region, notably the California market, have growing demand for natural gas for electrical generation, especially during very warm summer weather periods. Utilization levels on the major transmission pipelines serving the State have been well above 90 percent in recent months so have limited flexibility to meet future demand increases.
- Service needs in the southern Nevada area continue to remain at a very high level, suggesting the need for system expansion in that area as well.
NWS's forecast for this winter calls for normal weather in the country's northern tier (Natural Gas Weekly Update, October 27, 2000), suggesting that natural gas deliveries could progress through the upcoming winter as usual.