Overview of California gas infrastructure

Overview of California gas infrastructure | Norton Rose Fulbright

October 01, 2001 | By Keith Martin in Washington, DC

Gas service within California is generally provided by either PG&E, the Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas) or San Diego Gas & Electric Company (SDG&E). SoCalGas and SDG&E are both affiliates of Sempra, which essentially provides gas service throughout southern California. PG&E serves the north.

California imports nearly 85% of its natural gas from producing basins outside the state. Four interstate pipelines currently bring gas from producing regions to California: Pacific Gas Transmission - Northwest (PGT), El Paso Natural Gas Company (El Paso), Transwestern Pipeline (Transwestern) and Kern River Gas Transmission (Kern River). El Paso and Transwestern bring gas in from the southwest and primarily serve southern California. PGT brings in Canadian gas at the Oregon border at Malin and generally serves northern California. Kern River brings in gas from the Rocky Mountain region and serves central and southern California. In addition, the Mojave gas pipeline originates at Topock, Arizona and connects to Kern River at Dagget. The Mojave pipeline receives gas from the El Paso pipeline and is not directly connected to a supply basin. Generally, Kern River and the expanded PGT system have operated at very high load factors, while the El Paso system serves as the swing pipeline for gas service to California.

There is currently up to 7 Bcf per day of available flowing interstate capacity to the state, but this same capacity can provide service to other states before reaching California. Thus, pipeline deliveries to California are affected by the natural gas demands of upstream customers.

At the beginning of 2001, the total receipt capacity in California was less than the sum of the interstate delivery capacities by 345 mmcf a day. In other words, California was unable to move the full amount of gas inside the state that could be delivered to its borders.

Keith Martin