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The Energy Information Administration (EIA) in its Annual Energy Outlook (AEO) reports has tended to underestimate natural gas production and consequently overestimate net gas imports, according to the agency's Annual Energy Outlook Retrospective Review. In addition, natural gas has been the fuel with the largest absolute percentage difference between AEO projections and historical consumption. "This can be partially traced to the performance of natural gas price projections," EIA said. "In earlier projections, the natural gas price was influenced by the changes in the world oil price, but this relationship has decoupled since 2000. Through AEO2005 [see Daily GPIDec. 10, 2004], the reference case has generally overestimated natural gas consumption, in part due to the tendency for significant underestimates of the natural gas price. In addition, industrial natural gas usage is highly sensitive to business cycles, leading to greater volatility in overall natural gas consumption." EIA's AEO2014 concluded that abundant supply and low prices would drive consumption of gas in the industrial and electric power sectors to new levels in 2040 (see Daily GPIMay 8, 2014Dec. 16, 2013).

The Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) has made more upgrades as part of its Information Technology Project with the launch of two applications operators can complete and file online. RRC Form GW-1, Groundwater Protection Determination Request Form, and Statewide Rule 13 exception requests (SWR 3.13 regarding Casing, Cementing, Drilling, Well Control and Completion Requirements) can now be completed and submitted online. The applications allow operators to submit filings more conveniently and also enable RRC staff to review and process them more quickly. For all wells drilled in Texas, the Groundwater Protection letter states the depth of usable-quality water and additional isolation zones to be protected by surface casing. In Texas, all wells are required to be constructed with several layers of casing, with surface casing first required to be set from the surface to at least 25 feet below the base of usable quality water to isolate an oil or gas well from groundwater. In May 2013, RRC updated and clarified Statewide Rule 13 construction requirements for oil and gas wells drilled on or after Jan. 1, 2014 (see Shale DailyMay 28, 2013).

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) issued a $200,000 citation to Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E) for failing to appropriately file a safety-related report to federal and state regulators. On Aug. 19 PG&E discovered a safety-related condition with a natural gas transmission line in Tracy, CA. The condition involved the detection of severe corrosion, which reduced the pipe wall thickness by approximately 41% in the deepest corrosion pit. PG&E reduced pressure on the line on Aug. 21. It replaced the pipe and pressure was restored on Dec. 2. However the safety-related condition was not reported to the CPUC and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) until more than four months after detection. Safety related condition reports are required by the CPUC and PHMSA within five working days after first determination that a condition exists and no later than 10 working days after the day the condition was discovered. PG&E did not report the safety condition to the CPUC until Jan. 9. PG&E has 10 calendar days to pay or contest the citation.

Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) Commissioner David Porter will kick off the 2015 Natural Gas Initiative with legislators and business leadersat a half-day workshop at RRC headquarters on Thursday (March 26). The workshop will feature discussion and analysis of natural gas engine-fuel markets such as vehicle fleet conversion, as well as drilling rigs and pressure-pumping equipment. The Austin Natural Gas Workshop supports Porter's ongoing series of statewide events that began with the launch of the Natural Gas Initiative in October 2013. The meeting begins at 8:00 a.m. CDT at the RRC offices in Austin.

American LNG Marketing LLC has been granted U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) authorization to export up to 60,000 metric tonnes per annum of containerized liquefied natural gas (LNG) to free trade agreement (FTA) from a liquefaction project under construction by an affiliate in Medley, FL, on the northern portion of the Hialeah Railyard. An application to export from the project to non-FTA countries is pending at DOE. ISO containers designated for delivery to export customers will be loaded onto container ships or roll-on/roll-off oceangoing carriers at the nearby Port of Miami or other Florida ports capable of handling such cargo, the DOE order said [14-209-LNG]. Likely destinations for the cargoes, according to American LNG, are nations in the Caribbean and Central America.

Another Appalachian pipeline project continues to face grassroots opposition from three families in southern West Virginia in an area removed from the shale gas boom in the northern part of the state. The group has filed lawsuits in Monroe and Summers counties courts against the Mountain Valley Pipeline to stop surveying efforts, claiming that the project has no benefit to the public and is therefore not eligible for eminent domain in the state. Mountain Valley is a joint venture of affiliates of EQT Corp. and NextEra Energy Inc. (see Shale DailyOct. 29, 2014June 12, 2014). The 300-mile pipeline would deliver Marcellus and Utica Shale gas to markets in the mid-Atlantic and Southeast. 

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