Editorial

US natural gas pipeline delays receive a presidential treatment

President Trump seeks to rescue pipeline builders from permitting purgatory

US President Donald Trump is sick of the lengthy regulatory process that oil and gas companies endure in order to build interstate pipelines.

He has a point. We've tracked all proposed US pipeline projects for more than five years in our pipeline tracker, a part of the Wood Mackenzie North America Gas Service. The results were staggering. Since 2014, more than half of new interstate gas pipeline projects were postponed. That represents at least $36 billion in capex.

What's causing the delays?

The problems are endemic to the approval process, but especially concentrated in state and local jurisdictions.

We see that certain project attributes correlate with length of delays. Based on our regression analysis, the following three traits slow the process down the most:

  1. East Coast location
  2. Longer pipeline length
  3. Fewer end user shippers

The legal holdups tend to compound setbacks. Is change on the horizon? President Trump's executive orders signal an evolving regulatory environment and pipeline developers might even benefit from recent legal battles.

We've tirelessly tracked the regulatory minutiae so you don't have to. The North America Gas Service offers price, supply and demand outlooks on a weekly, monthly and biannual basis. We model new pipeline infrastructure to deliver pipeline capacity forecasts, as well as pipeline and waterborne LNG export outlooks.