Gas Co. working to prevent outages
Posted at: 09/27/2012 6:30 PM
| Updated at: 09/27/2012 10:11 PM
By: Adam Camp, KOB Eyewitness News 4
February 2011 is a month many New Mexicans will remember, especially at the beginning when a massive cold front came through the state, dropping temperatures below zero.
The San Juan basin, where most of New Mexicans get gas to heat their homes froze up because of the temperatures. So the state turned to the Permian gas basin and West Texas, but they also had the same cold front. There was too much demand for the lack of supply at the time. Thousands of New Mexicans were without heat.
Almost two years later, the Company spoke with the Public Relations Commission Thursday to discuss how a disaster like February 2011 can be prevented. Company Vice President of Operations Ken Oostman said a "perfect storm" hit the entire region, surprising everyone.
"This particular storm that happened in february is extreme, and it affected all the suppliers of the wellheads," Oostman said.
Since the freeze, Oostman said the Company has worked with law enforcement to achieve better communication when weather events like February 2011 happen again.
"I think we're much better prepared," Oostman said. "From everything from communication with the local and the state authorities, Homeland security and emergency management,.
The main issue for communication was getting gas from other states to New Mexico while the local basins were still without power, but Oostman said that problem has been fixed with drill between agencies to get heat to homes in need.
"Change where the effected areas would be so that we could restore more quickly to minimize the impact," he said.
As for long term plans, the Company is working on a liquefied natural gas storage facility to have a large amount of gas saved up in case a natural gas basin goes out and New Mexicans are in need of heat.
"Sitting, waiting, in case an extreme weather event created a shortfall in our system, we could tap into our supply and inject it right into our system," Oostman said.
The facility, if approved by the Public Relations Committee, would be ready by winter 2015.
Representatives from New Mexico Gas and the state Public Regulation Commission attended an extreme weather conference in Albuquerque Thursday.
The company said it's working to set up a storage of natural gas by 2015. The utility would then have an excess amount of gas in storage in case of extreme weather.