Accomplishments and Programs

Regulatory Policy of Return on Equity – The report examines the current processes utilized by the state public utility commissions to establish allowed returns on equity (ROE) for natural gas utilities in an effort to determine if ROEs being approved are adequate and sufficient to address U.S. distribution infrastructure needs. The continued success of the utility sector to deliver natural gas safely and reliably depends upon a strong and viable infrastructure that will meet growing local distribution company (LDC) customer demands. The infrastructure development needed to address new and aging infrastructure relies heavily upon the ability of the industry to attract strong capital investment. The study was released December 2008.

Ability of the U.S. to Compete in the Global LNG Marketplace
This report analyzes the adequacy of the world’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) producing capacity to meet the needs of the United States (U.S.) natural gas industry and to assess the current and likely future competitiveness of the U.S. in the global market place over the next decade.  The overall goals of this study include:  1) provide an analysis of world LNG availability, import levels, regional demand and prices; 2) evaluate the adequacy of U.S. infrastructure (pipelines, distribution, storage) to accommodate increased LNG imports; 3) project future market mechanisms for the global LNG industry – particularly long-term versus spot contracts and oil-indexation versus domestic gas prices – and identify what the U.S. will need to do to obtain their needed LNG supplies; 4) assess state and federal regulatory developments that have stimulated LNG imports, as well as measures that may be needed in the future to enable the U.S. natural gas industry to participate in the emerging global LNG markets; and 5) analyze geopolitical risks that may impinge upon LNG supplies and offer mitigation strategies for the U.S. natural gas industry. The study was released October 2008.

Direct Use of Natural Gas - The analysis summarized in this report examined the impact of the increased direct use of natural gas for Residential & Commercial (“R&C”) end uses. End uses considered include space heating, water heating, cooking, and clothes drying. The study analyzes the effect of the increased direct use of natural gas on expected use of gas for electric generation and the net effect in total energy use, energy costs and CO2 emissions. Although there are several factors that drive the use of natural gas for power generation, there is a growing concern that the overall natural gas supply/demand balance could be adversely impacted as demand of natural gas for power generation continues to grow. The underlying framework of the study considers the impact of the increased use of natural gas for direct applications in a series of scenarios. This study examines the impact of future scenarios that may influence ongoing policy debate and establishes a quantitative approach that can be replicated or expanded for future analysis. The study was released April 2008.

Natural Gas & Climate Change Forum - October 4, 2007, Washington, DC - This one-day forum, co-sponsored by the American Gas Foundation (AGF) and the Alliance to Save Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Natural Gas STAR program. The forum featured welcoming remarks by Ronald J. Barone, managing director of UBS Investment Research and an AGF trustee; a keynote address by Christopher Flavin, president of Worldwatch Institute; and remarks by EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson. Representatives from federal government agencies, natural gas distribution companies, a natural gas research organization, environmental and conservation organizations, and academia participated in three panel discussions covering the role of natural gas in efforts to address global climate change.

Rethinking Natural Gas Utility Rate Design Forum – May 23, 2006, Columbus, OH - This one-day executive level forum brought together key thought leaders from the state commissions, energy industry, and other interested public/private stakeholders to address the challenges of high natural gas prices and its impact on consumers and utilities. The executive forum participants were able to debate current natural gas utility rate designs and outlined recommendations for new innovative approaches that are currently not implemented for natural gas rates in the state regulatory environment.

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 and Its Impact on the U.S. Natural Gas Supply/Demand Imbalance - The purpose of this report, "The Energy Policy Act of 2005 and Its Impact on the U.S. Natural Gas Supply/Demand Imbalance," is twofold. First, the report revisits the findings of a prior 2005 AGF study, "Natural Gas Outlook to 2020", in light of recent market conditions. Second, and very importantly, the report performs a "gap analysis" that compares the policy scenarios outlined in the 2005 AGF Outlook Study to the potential impacts of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. This analysis measures the progress in implementing policies/regulations that could ease the natural gas supply/demand imbalance and lower energy costs for consumers. The study was released January 2007.

Public Policy and Real Energy Efficiency – True energy efficiency analysis requires an understanding of the economic, environmental and societal costs of the fuel cycle – from production and processing, to transportation and consumption. But public policy often is based on simple assumptions about the energy efficiency of end-use equipment.The study completed by GARD Analytics is focused on identifying programs and policies that could benefit from adopting real energy-efficient measures, estimating the potential energy savings and emissions reductions, providing case studies of potential market shifts for end-use products, and identifying the barriers to implementing real energy-efficient programs and policies. The study was released in Summer 2005.

Natural Gas: Balancing Supply, Demand and the Environment - May 24, 2005, Washington, DC - The American Gas Foundation, along with the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy and the National Environmental Trust, sponsored a forum to frame the issues relating to the natural gas supply-demand imbalance - and help determine efficient and environmentally-responsible solutions.

Natural Gas Outlook to 2020 – This study analyzes U.S. natural gas markets through the year 2020 under three different possible policy scenarios. The study documents the cost to the nation of a status-quo environment, predicts the effects of varying access to supply on gas markets, identifies the possible reasons for the non-response of production to higher gas prices, and outlines the competition dynamics of a world LNG market. The study was released in February 2005.

Safety Performance and Integrity of the Natural Gas Infrastructure – This important study identifies leading safety practices, as well as threats to distribution pipeline integrity. Recent regulations will affect the design, construction, testing, operation and maintenance of pipeline systems.This study considers various aspects of the integrity of distribution systems in an effort to identify possible enhancements.The project is being undertaken by the government-industry “Distribution Infrastructure Government-Industry Team (DIGIT)” that includes representatives from NAPSR (National Association of Pipeline Safety Representatives).The final report from URS Corp was released in January 2005.

Natural Gas Supply Executive RoundtableNovember 9, 2004, Dallas, Texas.This invitation-only roundtable united leaders in the natural gas supply arena to debate policy issues regarding gas supply. Participants included energy policy experts, gas customers, regulators, producers, pipelines and local distribution companies.The AGF goals for this event was the development of policy recommendations regarding natural gas supply and distributing the proceedings to key public policy decision makers. The host partner was the Maguire Energy Institute, Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University.

Natural Gas and Energy Price Volatility – This Fall 2003 report provided an in-depth study of natural gas price volatility and its impact on consumers, industry participants, and the interaction of natural gas and electric markets.This study led to the widely-distributed American Gas Association report, “Avoiding the Wild Ride:Ways to Tame Natural Gas Price Volatility”.

Meeting the Gas Supply Challenge of the Next 20 Years – Delivered in August 2002 and focusing on Alaska, Canada, Lower-48 and non-traditional gas sources, this report documented the growing mismatch between natural gas supply and demand.

Fueling the Future – Released in 2000 and updated in 2001, this policy blueprint, with more than 10,000 copies distributed, outlines recommendations that were incorporated by the President and Congress in the development of national energy policy.

© 2005 American Gas Foundation. All rights reserved.