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GasMart 2011: FERC: Traditional Flow Routes 'No Longer the Norm'

Natural gas transmission companies have been keeping FERC busy with project paperwork as the industry segment tries to adjust to a marketplace being altered by shale gas.

"Shale gas has really caused an increase in our workload at FERC [the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission]," Berne Mosley, FERC deputy director for energy projects, told an audience at GasMart 2011 in Chicago on Wednesday. "[The pipelines] are having to respond in some way to the fact that traditional flow patterns are no longer the norm. They're having to figure out ways to still stay in business, stay competitive and capture the market that they're trying to serve, yet not lose revenue on historic flow patterns from the Gulf [of Mexico]."

Mosley said many pipelines that traditionally have transported natural gas from the Gulf through southern and midwestern states to markets in the North and Northeast are running very low operating profiles and throughput is down. Despite this, he predicted that demand for gas would remain strong, with a growing niche market for natural gas vehicles and new baseload power generation. He added that most states now have renewable portfolio standards.

"Those renewables need to be firmed up," Mosley said. "You have solar and wind, but they're not good baseload sources [of energy]. You're going to have backup generation typically fired by natural gas. Coal plants are no longer in vogue; everyone is looking to replace them as they retire with natural gas."

(To read the full story go to shaledaily.com.)

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