US Energy Secretary talks gas pipe infrastructure

US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz has stressed that there is much work to do to modernise the nation's outdated system for moving oil, natural gas and power.

"It is the right time, maybe it's a little after the right time, for us to make these kind of investments in energy infrastructure," Moniz said.

Nationwide, new pipelines must be built, old ones repaired and electric grids and transformers insulated from storms and terrorist attacks.

Those urgent needs are spotlighted in the government's first quadrennial energy review (QER), a sprawling, nearly 500 page analysis released last week that offers a US$15 billion road map for updating US energy infrastructure and making it more resilient against man-made and natural threats.

America’s natural gas pipelines in particular are a critical weak link in the nation’s sprawling electric grid, Moniz also said.

“The natural gas system, the distribution pipes, are a big issue,” Moniz said, speaking at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor. “About half of the distribution pipes in the country are 50 years old or older, so that’s a very obvious area.”

High-volume transmission pipelines, which carry gas from wells to refineries and storage facilities, remain “underutilised” and still have room to spare, Moniz said, but smaller distribution lines – which carry gas to customers – are ageing and at capacity, harming the environment and putting consumers at risk of explosions.

Edited from various sources by Elizabeth Corner

Sources: Houston ChronicleUS News and World Report

Published on 29/04/2015

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