In 2005-06, the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (OE) conducted a study on the adequacy of interstate natural gas pipeline capacity serving the northeastern United States to meet natural gas demand in the event of a pipeline disruption. The study modeled gas demand for select market areas in the Northeast under a range of different weather conditions. The study then determined how interstate pipeline flow patterns could change in the event of a pipeline disruption to one or more of the pipelines serving the region in order to meet the gas demand. The results of the study demonstrated how much interstate pipeline capacity that could be taken out of service while still being able to supply natural gas for “essential human needs.”
Since 2006, there have been significant changes to the Northeast gas market. Chief among these has been the rapid growth of gas production from the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania and new pipeline and processing infrastructure expansions associated with that growth. In light of these changes, OE in 2013 conducted a new assessment to determine how these changes may have affected the ability of the interstate pipeline system to meet natural gas demand for “essential human needs” in the event of a disruption in pipeline capacity.