November 2014, Vol. 241, No. 11


U.S. Oil And Gas Production Continues To Rise

Rita Tubb and Michael Reed

Pipeline & Gas Journal’s 34th Annual 500 Report provides the industry’s most inclusive statistical review of U.S. energy pipeline systems. Once again, the report ranks the nation’s top gas distribution, liquids and gas transmission systems. The gas distribution rankings are based on number of customers, while transmission companies are ranked by mileage. Each liquids pipeline company ranking is based on yearly crude deliveries.

Additional statistical data compiled for the report are based on operating revenue, net crude and refined products delivered, miles of main and service lines and additions to plant.

More than 95% of the statistical data presented is based on information from calendar year 2013, compiled through forms filled out by each company listed or data collected at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

Although extensive efforts are made each year to provide the latest information, some companies are no longer required to provide statistical data to FERC and failed to respond to our inquiries. As a result, we are using the latest available information. If your company’s information is incorrect, let us know. We are also interested in any change of address, contact information, mergers and acquisitions.
The mention of mergers and acquisition brings to mind changes in this report that readers will likely notice.
In May 2013, Enable Midstream was formed through a joint venture of CenterPoint Energy Inc.’s interstate pipelines and field services business and the midstream business of Enogex LLC, a previous subsidiary of OGE Energy Corp.

Enable Midstream owns, operates and develops natural gas and crude oil infrastructure assets including 11,000 miles of gathering pipelines; 7,800 miles of interstate pipelines (including Southeast Supply Header LLC,); and 2,300 miles of interstate pipelines.

As a result, the CenterPoint Energy Gas Transmission listing in our last report is now Enable Gas Transmission and CenterPoint Energy Mississippi River is Enable Mississippi River Gas Transmission LLC.

In May 2012, ConocoPhillips split its downstream business to create a new, publicly traded company known as Phillips 66. In connection with this separation, downstream assets and liabilities were transferred to Phillips 66.
This year’s figures for AGL Resources lists 4,478,612 gas customers, reflecting the totals for Nicor Gas, Atlanta Gas Light, Virginia Natural Gas, Elizabethtown Gas, Florida City Gas, Chattanooga Gas and Elkton Gas.

There is a new listing for ONE Gas Inc., which is a successor to Oklahoma Natural Gas Company that became ONEOK Inc. in 1980. ONEOK separated its natural gas distribution business in 2014 to create ONE Gas Inc.

The Laclede Group, Inc. purchased 100% equity of Alabama Gas Corp. (Alagasco) from Energen Corp. in August. Laclede’s purchase expands its footprint of regulated gas utilities and follows the September 2013 purchase of natural gas utility Missouri Gas Energy (MGE). Laclede has over 1.5 million customers in Missouri and Alabama and is the largest natural gas service provider in both states.

NiSource gas distribution operations supplies over 3.3 million residential, commercial and industrial customers via nearly 60,000 miles of pipeline and related facilities in seven states. NiSource companies are listed separately in the report, and include: Columbia Gas of Kentucky, Columbia Gas of Maryland, Columbia Gas of Massachusetts, Columbia Gas of Ohio, Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania, Columbia Gas of Virginia and Northern Indiana Public Service Co. (NIPSCO), an electric and gas supply company.

NiSource plans to separate its natural gas pipeline, midstream and storage business into a stand-alone publicly traded company. The separation, expected to be complete by mid-2015, would result in two energy infrastructure companies: NiSource, a fully regulated natural gas and electric utilities company, and Columbia Pipeline Group, Inc. (CPG), a stand-alone natural gas pipeline, midstream and storage company.

Following the separation, NiSource would remain one of the largest natural gas utilities companies in the United States, serving more than 3.4 million customers in seven states under the Columbia Gas and NIPSCO brands.

The federal Energy Information Administration’s Short-Term Energy and Winter Fuels Outlook, released Oct. 7, forecasts total U.S. crude oil production increases from 7.4 MMbpd in 2013 to 8.5 MMbpd in 2014 and 9.5 MMbpd in 2015.

The report notes that the highest previous annual average U.S. production level was 9.6 MMbpd in 1970. Oil production from the Gulf of Mexico is estimated to increase from 1.3 MMbpd in 2013 to 1.6 MMbpd in 2015, with 11 projects starting this year.

On natural gas, EIA credits production gains to record storage injections this year. Dry gas production this winter is projected to average 71 Bcf/d, an increase of 3 Bcf/d (4.5%) over last winter.

Hydrocarbon gas liquids production at natural gas liquids plants is projected to increase from 2.6 MMbpd in 2013 to 3.2 MMbpd in 2015. The growth in domestic production has contributed to a significant decline in petroleum imports, according to the report. Total U.S. liquid fuels consumption met by net imports fell from 60% in 2005 to an average of 33% in 2013. EIA expects the net import share to decline to 20% in 2015, which would be the lowest level since 1968.

EIA expects the Henry Hub natural gas spot price to be $4/MMBtu this winter compared with $4.53/MMBtu last winter. This forecast reflects both lower expected heating demand and significantly higher gas production.
On crude prices, the report points out that weak global demand helped North Sea Brent crude oil spot prices fall to an average of $97 bbl in September, the first month Brent prices averaged below $100/bbl in over two years. The WTI discount to Brent, which averaged $11/bbl in 2013, is expected to average $7/bbl in 2014 and 2015.

Distribution’s Top Ten. Little change is seen in this year’s top ten gas distribution companies in terms of total gas customers. Once again, Southern California Gas claimed the first spot, reporting 5,800,000 customers. The next six positions remained unchanged, with AGL Resources claiming the two spot with 4,479,000.

The three through six rankings were retained by: Pacific Gas & Electric Co., 4,300,000; National Grid, 3,465,997; CenterPoint Energy Operations, 3,338,066; Atmos Energy, 3,042,931; and ONE Gas Inc., 2,113,912. Southwest Gas moved from ninth to eighth place with 1,904,077 customers, while Xcel Energy claimed the ninth spot with 1,900,000 and Public Service Electric & Gas/Gas Delivery retained the tenth position with 1,800,000 customers.

Gas Transmission’s Top Ten. The five top ten gas transmission companies in terms of miles of pipelines operated remained unchanged from last year. DCP Midstream claimed the first spot with 14,807 miles, followed by Northern Natural Gas Co., 14,803; Tennessee Gas Pipeline, 12,195, El Paso Natural Gas, 10,209 and Columbia Gas Transmission with 9,651. The sixth through ten spots were claimed by: Texas Eastern Transmission, 9,507; Natural Gas Pipeline Company of America, 9,457; Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line, 9,218; and ANR Pipeline, 8,890. Dominion Transmission was tenth with 7,503.

Liquids’ Top Ten. In this section, only two companies retained their top 10 rankings. Once again, Colonial Pipeline claimed first place with 907,878,000 barrels delivered last year. The second spot was reclaimed by Plains Pipeline, reporting 794,673,000. Enterprise Crude Pipeline moved from the eighth position last year to claim the third spot with a total of 778,235,000. The following seven rankings were claimed by ExxonMobil Pipeline, 770,503,000; Marathon Pipe Line, 681,648,000; Enbridge Energy Ltd. Partnership, 659,160,000; Magellan Pipeline, 574,486,000; Sunoco Pipeline, 541,869,000; Seaway Crude Pipeline, 455,524,000; and Phillips 66 Pipeline, 436,061,000.

Editor’s note: For full tables and rankings, please see our print or digital edition.

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