System operator unintentionally cut off natural gas during Texas freeze

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) tried to avoid power outages during the winter storm by paying heavy industrial users to reduce their energy use, but the Electricity Saving Program actually ended up further eroding the natural gas supply because some of those heavy users were shut down. were natural gas infrastructure companies, a Analysis by the Wall Street Journal found.

During the Texas freeze in mid-February, ERCOT activated its program to pay large industrial consumers to reduce their electricity use to alleviate the enormous pressure on the state grid due to of record winter demand as many wind and natural gas installations were down.

However, the Texas grid operator did not know which companies were exactly part of the energy reduction program. It turns out, the analysis of the Journal of network records shows, that this decision further reduced the supply of natural gas in the state.

ERCOT officials said the grid operator was unaware that the energy saving program actually ended up cutting off some of the much needed natural gas supply at the time. . by closing critical natural gas infrastructures.

In February, ERCOT called for rotating outages statewide as extreme winter conditions forced wind power generation units to go offline, while demand for electricity set a new winter peak record. . During winter storms, natural gas production in Texas plummeted 45%, mostly due to frosts.

“We know [a facility] qualified and met the requirements because we test them, but we don’t know what they are doing, ”Kenan Ögelman, ERCOT vice president of business operations, told the Journal.

The Texas grid operator also said it should reassess whether critical natural gas infrastructure should be allowed to benefit from the reduced consumption payments program in the future.

The biggest winners of Texas Freeze were companies that produce, distribute and market natural gas, according to interviews and quarterly earnings reports reviewed by Reuters.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for OilUSD

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