The last couple of weeks have seen a number of mishaps involvingnatural gas lines, one of them resulting in fatalities.
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A Kern River official said a large number of pipeline shippersexpressed interest in extending or signing new firm transportationagreements under the pipeline’s proposed term differentiated rateproposal, a rate discounting plan announced in late October. Thepipeline company received requests from nine new shippers, mostlymarketers, for 900 MMcf/d of firm capacity on its mainline underthe new rate design during a recent open season. In addition, eightout of its 11 existing shippers expressed interest in holding on to600 MMcf/d under new discounted rates.
FERC acted on a number of other key items last week, includingthe Gas Research Institute’s (GRI) budget, new firm transportationservices on Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line’s production-area supplylaterals, and tariff sheets enabling Tennessee Gas Pipeline toenter into certain types of discount agreements with customerswithout first getting prior approval.
Atlantic Richfield Co. (ARCO) told employees it will lay offworkers and cut its operating budget in anticipation of continuedlow oil prices. No details on the number of job cuts or where theywould be made were available. A company spokesman told NGI ARCOshould have a plan in place by mid to late October. ARCO has about20,000 employees, all but about 3,500 of them in the United States.
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission has approved a proposalby the Kansas City Board of trade to increase the number ofconsecutive Western Natural Gas contract months listed on theexchange to 36 from 18. The additional months will be listed fortrade beginning today.
A number of traders were experiencing early cases of the”Summertime Blues” Monday due to what they perceived as a verylackluster market. “It will be easy to report the prices todaybecause they’ve hardly budged” from Friday, a Gulf Coast marketertold Daily GPI. Another source quoting flat to slightly lowerChicago citygates in the mid $2.00s noted he was “just sitting hereyawning.”
The Interstate Natural Gas Association of America (INGAA) andthe Canadian Energy Pipeline Association (CEPA) currently areeyeing a number of restructuring options – one of which is tocombine the two groups into a single pipeline association,officials said. INGAA is looking south of the border as well tostrengthen its ties with Mexico.
The recent tightening of Henry Hub-New York basis can beattributed to a number of factors: the large amounts of capacitybeing turned back to the pipelines, high inventory levels,competitive residual fuel oil prices and new liquefied natural gasprojects, according to a prominent energy trader.
The number of proposed major pipeline projects on schedule forservice in winter 1999 continues to dwindle, with IndependencePipeline telling FERC yesterday it plans to delay service by a yearuntil November 2000. The pipeline’s sponsors said the $678 millionproject will be delayed because of the lengthy construction timerequired. FERC still has not approved the project. Markets for the400-mile pipeline system also have been slow to develop, butsponsors said they recently executed an additional precedentagreement with Eastern Energy Marketing for 99,000 Dth/d of firmtransportation capacity, bringing subscriptions to nearly 70% ofthe pipeline’s 916 MMcf/d capacity.