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The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has granted a certificate to Pine Prairie Energy Center LLC to expand its Pine Prairie Natural Gas Storage salt cavern facility in Evangeline Parish, LA. The project would increase working capacity of the facility to 80 Bcf from the current 48 Bcf, including two new 12 Bcf caverns and the expansion of permitted capacity for caverns two through five to 12 Bcf from 10 Bcf each (see Daily GPI, Oct. 6, 2010). The FERC order requires Pine Prairie to hold an open season to solicit permanent capacity release offers and grants Pine Prairie's request for continuing authorization to charge market-based rates.

The Colorado Oil & Gas Association (COGA) has launched a website (www.coga.org) to help users better negotiate the association's information resources. It attempts to provide a more user-friendly design for organizing and presenting oil/gas facts and issues in Colorado. A new "newsroom" feature will add to regular association updates by gathering and disseminating news feeds from around the nation on a 24/7 basis. Fact sheets on specific topics as well as various studies will be readily available. Current data available on the site include hydraulic fracturing, economic benefits from the oil/gas industry, Colorado Clean Air, Clean Jobs Act, and environmental benefits of natural gas.

Natural gas pipelines, climate change and solar energy share part of the California Energy Commission's (CEC) latest research grants --four project receiving $2.8 million, with $478,457 of that going to the University of California (UC) Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society to develop technologies and approaches for inspecting and monitoring natural gas pipelines. The project will design a prototype and pilot test next-generation sensors for detecting overpressurized situations, defects, water collection and corrosion in pipelines. The UC San Diego campus will receive $1.39 million to develop solar forecasting tools, distributed generation storage systems, renewable energy charging of electric vehicles, and improved ways to observe microgrid operations. UC Santa Barbara was awarded $600,000 for examining climate change's impact on fire frequency and watershed vegetation. UC Berkeley will receive $400,000 to develop greenhouse gas inventory methods.

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