Spectra's Northeast US gas lines limit some flows due to cold

NEW YORK Tue Nov 27, 2012 2:31pm EST

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NEW YORK Nov 27 (Reuters) - Cold weather across the U.S. Northeast on Tuesday forced two Spectra Energy natural gas pipeline units to limit some flows amid heavy demand for the heating fuel.

Algonquin Gas Transmission said in a website posting it had again restricted some interruptible customers on its Northeast system, a familiar pattern over the past few weeks.

Interruptible customers typically pay less to ship gas with the understanding that service can be cut in periods of peak demand.

The company said it may have to issue an "operational flow order" (OFO) to maintain operational flexibility and system reliability for firm transportation.

OFOs protect the integrity of a pipeline by requiring shippers to balance their supply with customers' usage within a specified tolerance band.

In addition, the company's Maritimes and Northeast unit said it had scheduled nominations at each pipeline segment and meter station up to operational capacity, with restrictions at the Tennessee Gas interconnection at Dracut, a physical delivery meter station.

Cold rain and snow moved throughout the Northeast on Tuesday, with temperatures mainly in the 30s Fahrenheit, according to the Weather Channel's weather.com.

Cash gas on the Algonquin system traded at over $12 per million British thermal units on Tuesday, according to ICE data, the priciest in the nation. Other regional Northeast prices, including gas in New York City, traded closer to $5.

The Algonquin system, at over 1,100 miles and 2.4 billion cubic feet per day, supplies natural gas to New England from connections with five major interstate pipelines, moving gas from the Gulf Coast to as far north as Massachusetts.

The 338-mile U.S. and 352-mile Canada Maritimes and Northeast pipeline system carries over 833 million cubic feet of supply across the Northeast and in Atlantic Canada.

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