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Social Media Case Studies
A full study called Social Media Best Practices and Case Studies 2011 is now available. This report has case studies of Coca Cola, Hertz, Citi and other companies that have found success on social media. While they focus more on corporate communications, the principles they offer are pretty much the same and apply to utilities.
Also available is an executive summary of a report that came out recently from Pike Research titled Social Media in the Utility Industry. The study highlights the key drivers and barriers that are defining the development of social media in the utility industry, and offers case studies from utility companies that have found success in social channels. The report also offers strategies and best practices for utilities seeking to avoid mistakes and minimize their risks. Company profiles are provided for key industry players, and market forecasts are included through 2017 for utility spending on social media tools as well as the number of customers using social media to engage with utilities.
Natural Gas Pipeline Infrastructure Key to US Energy Future
By Frank Ferazzi -- October 7, 2011 --
Most of us don't give much thought to where our electricity comes from when we flip on a light switch, or where our natural gas comes from when we turn on a stove. It's energy that's there when we need it, so it's easy to take for granted.
What many people don't realize is that there's a sophisticated, complex network of critical natural gas pipeline infrastructure that makes such day-to-day necessities possible.
Natural gas is more popular than ever and, fortunately, the United States has vast, long-term supplies. Natural gas currently fuels about a quarter of all U.S. electric generation and is the main heat source for about half of all U.S. homes. Natural gas is domestic, abundant, reliable, cost-effective and cleaner burning than other fossil fuels. As a result, demand for natural gas is increasing, specifically in the Northeast. The U.S. Energy Information Administration 2011 Energy Outlook forecasts a steady increase in natural gas demand in this region from 2009 to 2035.
Williams operates the Transco natural gas pipeline, a significant part of the region's energy infrastructure. Most states, like New Jersey for example, don't produce any of their own natural gas. That means pipeline systems like ours play a critical role in transporting natural gas from production areas to the marketplace, delivering natural gas to utility companies, electric generation plants and other industrial users. Last year, Williams delivered more than half of the natural gas consumed in New Jersey.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's 2011 Draft Energy Master Plan recognizes the important role of natural gas in the state's energy future, specifically calling out the need for more pipeline infrastructure. The Plan says, "Adding pipeline deliverability is a necessary compliment to New Jersey's reliance on natural gas for electric generation. It will lower wholesale electric costs while strengthening the foundation for economically and environmentally sound programs aimed at lessening the state's dependence on oil."
Governor Christie is right. Natural gas is playing a vital role in shaping the region's energy future, and pipeline systems like Transco must be expanded in order to make that future a reality. Just as you might expand a highway to accommodate population growth, transmission pipelines are the "natural gas highway," allowing gas to flow from production areas to the many users who depend on this vital resource.
Currently, Transco's pipeline capacity is fully contracted. That means in order to get additional incremental supplies of natural gas to market, we must expand or modify our existing pipeline system.
There has been an increasing amount of attention lately focusing on one such proposal. Our Northeast Supply Link project is designed to provide incremental capacity and relieve bottlenecks on our Transco pipeline system, allowing us to deliver more natural gas and provide customers in the Northeast with access to abundant sources of this domestic natural gas supply. Because of its existing location, the Transco pipeline is uniquely positioned to connect these vast supplies with the growing marketplace. This increased access will not only increase reliability of natural gas service, but should also contribute to keeping natural gas and wholesale electricity prices down--which ultimately should mean lower utility bills for consumers.
The economic value of this project extends beyond the prospect of lower natural gas and electricity bills. A 2011 Rutgers University study conducted by the Bloustein School of Planning & Public Policy identified a $45.8 million economic benefit to New Jersey from direct construction expenditures related to the project, as well as indirect expenditures generated by the construction process. This includes $5.1 million in state and local tax revenue.
We're in the early phases of developing this project. We're working with and listening to our neighbors and other stakeholders to identify ways to minimize the impact during construction. We're talking with state and federal agencies, environmental organizations and homeowners to make sure our plan balances the need to expand this critical infrastructure and the interest of landowners and local communities.
Natural gas pipeline infrastructure plays a vital role in securing America's energy future. Our goal at Williams is to design, install and operate any enhancements to our Transco pipeline in a safe, responsible manner so that natural gas can achieve its promise in helping shape the region's energy future.
The next time you turn on your stove or flip on a light switch, consider the natural gas pipeline infrastructure that makes it happen. It's not something any of us can afford to take for granted any longer.
Frank Ferazzi is vice president and general manager of the Transco pipeline project for the Williams natural gas company.
Gulf LNG Terminal Seen Competing with Shale Gas
Houston (Platts)--Sept. 30, 2011 -- While the newly opened Gulf LNG import terminal near Pascagoula, Mississippi, will have access to growing demand for natural gas from Southeast power generators, it will find itself competing with supply from a number of shale plays in the region, market watchers said.
"It's moving into a market that's already thick with shale gas. That mutes much of the impact you would see," a Southeast trader said.
The 1.5 Bcf/d import terminal--the second one to open this year after Golden Pass in Louisiana went into service in March--was given the green light by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission last week to begin importing super-cooled supplies.
The facility is co-owned by El Paso, Crest Group and the Angolan national oil company Sonangol.
The Pascagoula Expansion Project, a 26-inch diameter pipeline connecting the terminal to the Mobile Bay lateral--and from there to interstate pipelines Florida Gas Transmission and Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line--was placed into service Friday, ready to move 810,000 Mcf/d from the terminal, according to Transco operator's Williams spokesman Christopher Stockton.
The pipeline, which was given FERC approval September 22, moves as much as 467,000 Mcf/d into Transco, while FGT can take up to 343,000 Mcf/d.
Because of its proximity to the gas-hungry Florida market, and the outlook for growth in the Southeast, Greg Hopper, managing director with consultant Black & Veatch, said Gulf LNG has found a prime location.
"Pascagoula is one of the best locations in the Gulf," Hopper said. "Buyers in the Florida and Southeast market go to that point and trade actively in that market. LNG needs good liquidity, and its there."
The Florida city-gates market, however, has since April been receiving an additional 820,000 Mcf/d since FGT's Phase VIII expansion was placed into service, dampening what usually is a volatile cash market.
Platts historical prices show that with the opening of this expansion, the city-gates market did not see price spikes this summer as cash stayed in the $5 range. Previous summers have seen prices hit between $10 and $12.
A Southeast marketer said those zones are already well served following numerous major expansions and additions to the pipeline grid aimed at moving growing shale supplies in Louisiana and Texas to the Southeast.
"Shale gas is coming in heavy," Beckman said. "There's something like 15 Bcf/d at Perryville (Louisiana) and a lot of that gas is coming across to [Transco's compressor] station 85. There is a tremendous push into the Southeast."
The influx of these supplies has pressured prices to below-$4/MMBtu, well below the $6 and $7 prices seen when Gulf LNG was approved by FERC in 2007.
But one of the major questions still to be answered is whether cargoes will actually come into Pascagoula.
Since the Angolan liquefaction plant to supply Gulf LNG is not expected to be completed until 2012, Hopper said the facility would likely have to rely until then on spot cargoes, which are often diverted to higher-priced markets in Asia and Europe.
"That siphoning LNG to the Pacific continues today and we won't escape that," Hopper said.
But the terminal might be of greater utility in the long-term when Southeast power generators are expected to switch from coal to gas.
"The Southeast looks to be one of the strongest power markets in the country and that means there will be a push to get as much gas as you can. It creates some gas-on-gas competition," International Gas Consulting president Ken Beckman said.
"It's a question of timing. Out to 2015, 2016 or 2017 is probably more realistic to see those gains, but this is all synched with carbon legislation," Hopper said.
Those fuel-switching forecasts have raised expectations of as much as 5 Bcf/d being added to the region's natural gas demand.
"This is going to be a huge market," Beckman said. "There's an awful lot of electric power generation from Southern Company, SCANA and maybe the Tennessee Valley Authority, so it's a large generation market and due for a lot of growth on the gas side."
But even that outlook has some moving pieces.
With supplies from the Marcellus Shale in the Northeast growing, supplies from the Gulf Coast are increasingly facing gas-on-gas competition and being pushed back from that premium market.
"It all depends on the Marcellus and if it does cannibalize that market," Hopper said.
Hopper added projections show Southeast supplies meeting a declining chunk of Northeast demand through 2020, pushing more gas back into the Southeast when demand for power generation is growing.
So given its location, Gulf LNG could plug the holes in the supply picture.
"LNG has been an opportunistic supply and that hasn't changed," Hopper said. "It remains a viable option and we still show imports as a solution."
Senator Blocks Pipeline Safety Bill on Principle
Sept. 27, 2011 -- By Joan Lowy, Associated Press -- WASHINGTON (AP). A senator who opposes federal regulation on philosophical grounds is single-handedly blocking legislation that would strengthen safety rules for oil and gas pipelines, a bill that even the pipeline industry and companies in his own state support.
Republican Sen. Rand Paul's opposition to the bill hasn't wavered even after a gas pipeline rupture last week shook people awake in three counties in his home state of Kentucky.
Paul, a tea party ally who shares with his father, Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, a desire to shrink the role of the federal government, won't discuss his role in stymieing the bill. But industry lobbyists, safety advocates and Senate aides said he is the only senator who is refusing to agree to procedures that would permit swift passage of the measure. Read the full story.
Pipeline Safety: Potential for Damage to Pipeline Facilities Caused by Flooding
Federal Register on July 27, 2011 –
PHMSA is issuing this advisory bulletin to all owners and operators of gas and hazardous liquid pipelines to communicate the potential for damage to pipeline facilities caused by severe flooding. This advisory includes actions that operators should consider taking to ensure the integrity of pipelines in case of flooding.
The PBSJ Corporation is Renamed Atkins
Tampa, Florida –
On April 1, The PBSJ Corporation and its PBS&J subsidiary company will be renamed Atkins. PBSJ operates as a national business of Atkins in North America following its acquisition in October 2010. Atkins is the world's 11th largest design firm.
US DOT Launches Pipeline Safety Initiative
April 6, 2011 - United States Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has launched a national pipeline safety initiative to repair and replace ageing pipelines to prevent potentially catastrophic incidents.
Read the full story here.
William Jackson "Jack" Bowen departed
this life on March 20, 2011, after declining health.
was born in Sweetwater, Texas in 1922. He graduated
from Waco High School in 1938 and from New Mexico Military Institute
in 1940. He entered the University of Texas in 1940, and it was there
that he met the love of his life, Annis Kay Hilty. He learned to fly
when he was 17 and received an appointment to West Point in 1942. He
graduated with his pilot's wings in June 1945 and married Annis on June
6th. After Jack resigned
from the Army he went to work for Delhi Oil, a small company in
Dallas formed by Clint Murchison; his first business mentor. He was in
charge of building and operating a pipeline to Florida, which resulted
in his becoming CEO of Florida Gas Company in 1962. After living
thirteen years in Winter Park, Fla., he returned to Houston as CEO
of Transco Energy Company in 1974.
During his time as CEO of both companies, he served on the boards of
many organizations; both profit and non-profit. Among these are Crown
Zellerback, The James River Corporation, J.B. Poindexter & Company,
Baylor College of Medicine, the Jesse H. Jones School of Business
Administration at Rice University, the Houston SPCA, The Smithsonian
Institution, Private Sector Initiatives of Houston, Clean Houston, the
YMCA of Greater Houston, the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, the United
Way of Houston, Bank of the Southwest, The Interstate Natural Gas
Association, the National Petroleum Council, the World Energy Council,
the United States Energy Association, the American Gas Association,
the All-American Wildcatters, and the American Petroleum Institution.
In lieu of customary remembrances, the family requests with gratitude
that memorial contributions in Jack's memory be directed to the
Tellepsen Family Downtown YMCA, Attention Mary Huggins, 808 Pease,
Houston, TX, 77002; the Watercolor Art Society of Houston, 1601 West
Alabama, Houston, TX, 77006; or to the charity of one's choice.
New Report Explores Natural Gas, Renewables
March 16, 2011 - The Foundation report Firming Renewable Electric Power Generators: Opportunities and Challenges for Natural Gas Pipelines and Press Release were issued today by the INGAA Foundation. This report, authored by ICF International, is one of the first studies to drill down deeply into what will be required to firm up intermittent renewables and the implications that this will have for gas supply, infrastructure and transportation services. It raises some very important issues for electric generators, regulators and pipelines to address.
PAA Natural Gas Storage Completes Southern Pines Acquisition
Feb. 9, 2011 - PAA Natural Gas Storage, L.P. today announced that it has completed the previously announced acquisition of SG Resources Mississippi, LLC, which owns the Southern Pines Energy Center natural gas storage facility. See the press release.
FEPA Supports Upcoming Safety Symposiums
FEPA Executive Director Rob Wilson and Lorie Grooms, Director of Communications & Event Planning, are serving on the Planning Committee for the 2011 Sunshine State One Call Of Florida (SSOCOF) Regional Damage Prevention/Excavation Safety Symposiums. SSOCOF hosts four regional meetings between February 1 and May 31, 2011. The symposiums promote greater public awareness of Chapter 556 Florida Statutes; SSOCOF; and Common Ground Alliance (CGA) current initiatives such as 811, DIRT, and Best Practices. The meetings are open to all damage prevention stakeholders and are hosted by SSOCOF free of charge for those attending. For more information, please visit the SSOCOF website.
Underground Facility Damage Prevention Legislation Effective Oct. 1, 2010
FEPA Annual Summer Conference 2011
US DOT Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration Calendar
American Petroleum Institute (API)
Association of Oil Pipe Lines (AOPL)
Common Ground Alliance
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)
FERC Market Oversight Natural Gas in the Southeast
Florida Fire Chiefs Association
Florida Reliability Coordinating Council (FRCC)
Florida Utililty Coordinating Committee
Interstate Natural Gas Association of America (INGAA)
Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)
Office of Pipeline Safety (OPS)
Sunshine State One Call
US DOT Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration
PHMSA Pipeline Safety Community
Land Use Planning and Transmission Pipelines
PHMSA Pipeline Information Library
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