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Mastio: Reliability, Accuracy and Honesty Are Top Pipeline Hallmarks

According to Mastio's Natural Gas Pipeline Value/Loyalty Benchmarking Study for 2008, the "top three customer needs" of pipeline customers are reliable firm transportation, accurate scheduled volumes and honest and forthright communications.

For the purposes of the report, pipelines are separated into five categories: mega, major, regional, intrastate and major organizational group. Pipelines were rated on 29 attributes, and respondents also answered questions such as, "Besides price, what is the most important factor that you use to select one transportation provider over another" and "What was the biggest disappointment you have experienced with each of your pipelines over the last 12 months."

This year's survey offers findings that aren't much different from surveys of recent years, Mastio's Kevin Huntsman, director of sales and marketing, told NGI. "We've kind of hit a spot where we've settled into who's who and there hasn't been movement as far as companies selling pipelines, he said. "It's a pretty stable atmosphere right now. It's really pretty even-keel."

According to the survey, the top three most improved pipelines by category are:

Among mega pipelines, Southern Natural Gas Co. had the highest score. Exceeding the industry benchmark were Dominion Transmission Inc., Natural Gas Pipeline Co. of America, Northern Natural Gas Co., Panhandle Eastern Pipe Line Co., Texas Gas Transmission, TransCanada PipeLines-Mainline and Williams Gas Pipeline-Transco.

Last year Williams Gas Pipeline-Northwest took top honors in the mega category (see Daily GPI, April 19, 2007).

Among major pipelines, Southern Star Central had the highest score. Exceeding the industry benchmark were Dominion Transmission Inc., Natural Gas Pipeline Co. of America, Northern Natural Gas Co., Panhandle Eastern Pipe Line Co., Southern Natural Gas Co., Texas Gas Transmission, TransCanada PipeLines-Alberta, TransCanada PipeLines-Mainline and Williams Gas Pipeline-Transco.

Among regional pipelines, California Gas Transmission had the highest score. Exceeding the industry benchmark were Algonquin Gas Transmission Co., Great Lakes Gas Transmission Inc., Iroquois Gas Transmission System LP, Kern River Gas Transmission Co., National Fuel Gas Supply Corp., Northern Border Pipeline Co., Transwestern Pipeline Co., Union Gas Ltd. and Williston Basin Interstate Pipeline Co.

Among intrastate pipelines, California Gas Transmission had the highest score. No pipelines were listed as exceeding the industry benchmark.

Some companies appear in more than one category because their businesses overlap categories, Huntsman said. The study is based on interviews with industrial consumers, local distribution companies, independent power producers, natural gas producers and marketers.

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