Production of associated natural gas in the Permian’s Midland and Delaware basins is forecasted to continue rising through the early 2020s, challenging existing pipeline takeaway capacity out of the region. There also are limits to how much gas can flow northeast into the Midcontinent and the Upper Midwest — after all, those regions have access to gas from other areas too, including the Rockies, western Canada, the Marcellus/Utica and the Midcon itself. The same holds true for Texas’s Gulf Coast, which has emerged as another battleground for gas producers. Today we continue our series on the ability of existing pipes out of the Permian to move natural gas to market and the enhancements that will be needed to allow Permian production to keep growing.
In Part 1 of our series, we said that the pace of Permian production growth will be influenced by many factors, including the degree to which the market price for crude oil exceeds the play’s breakeven prices and the ability of midstream companies to add incremental pipeline takeaway capacity as that capacity is needed. While the pursuit of crude oil is driving drilling and production activity in the Permian, rapid growth in crude output is being accompanied by large volumes of associated gas and natural gas liquids (NGLs) that also must be dealt with. Fortunately, the Permian has been a major production area for decades — a lot of crude, gas and NGL pipeline infrastructure is already in place. But, as we’ll get to, it won’t be enough. Part 1 built on our It Was Good Living With You, (W)aha series, which described the hub-and-spoke pipeline networks in West Texas that play critical roles in transporting large volumes of Permian gas to customers as far away as Southern California and Minnesota.
Last time we began our review of existing gas pipelines out of the Permian with a look at the pipes that head west — namely, Kinder Morgan’s El Paso Pipeline system and Energy Transfer Partners’ Transwestern Pipeline, both of which transport Permian and other gas to New Mexico, Arizona and the southeastern edge of California. These pipelines also deliver gas to the U.S.’s border with Mexico, where it is picked up by Mexican systems. Today we continue our clockwise tour of Permian-focused pipelines with a review of systems that move gas northeast out of the Permian to the Midcon and East Texas, to the southeast to South Texas — and to points beyond.
Northern Natural Gas Pipeline