The explosion and fire on El Paso Natural Gas’ system insoutheast New Mexico in August, which killed 12 people, underscoresthe need for a newer gas pipeline infrastructure in the UnitedStates, according to a Department of Energy (DOE) report releasedthis week.

This was one of many observations made about the natural gasindustry and other energy sources in the Sept. 27 DOE report,”Powering the New Economy: Energy Accomplishments, Investments,Challenges.”

The El Paso line in New Mexico “was over forty years old andshowed evidence of corrosion,” the report said. It went on to notethe pipeline provides Southern California with a “significantportion” of the gas needed for electric generation, and that theregion’s gas demand was “temporarily met” by dipping into storedgas following the blast.

This incident shows “we not only need more storage, butultimately more natural gas supply and modern infrastructures,” theDOE concluded.

In response to the growing energy demand, it also saidWashington needs to encourage policies and investments that”acknowledge and reflect” the increasing interdependence of theelectricity and natural gas infrastructures.

Also, federal lawmakers need to provide incentives to promoteoil and gas development in the “ultra-deep Gulf of Mexico and inareas to be produced in Alaska,” the report said.

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