The Gas Processors Association's (GPA) Regulatory Committee remains heavily engaged in discussions about moving the start of the "natural gas operating day" to an earlier time of 4 a.m. (Central time zone), which the association says will negatively impact operational and commercial areas of companies in the midstream energy sector.
The discussions stem from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) issued in late March, which proposes to amend FERC Regulation 284.12. The proposed changes not only deal with moving the start of the operating day but also address scheduling practices used by interstate pipelines to schedule natural gas transportation service.
"The move of the start of the gas day is a potential threat for natural gas operating companies' field employees and their office-based gas schedulers. Very few of those companies have automated valves and as a result, rely on their field employees to manually make changes," said Jeff Applekamp, GPA vice president of government affairs. "These proposed changes could threaten the safety of the natural gas industry and shape its business practices and processes for years to come; it is critical that we file comments on behalf of our member companies that would be impacted by the changes."
Because a final rule adopting the proposed amendments would change natural gas industry practices developed through the North American Energy Standards Board (NAESB) and referenced in FERC's regulations, FERC asked natural gas and electric industries to "work out the details of how changes in scheduling practices can most efficiently be made and implemented" consistent with its proposed changes.
GPA actively participated in the NAESB Gas-Electric Harmonization forum, a series of four meetings set up to help interested participants develop consensus and shape the NAESB response to the NOPR. A consensus was not reached, so GPA will file comments in the Federal Register by the November deadline to protect its member companies' interests.