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Deliverability

The economic engine powered by the natural gas-laden shale regions of North America is going to create jobs in all walks of life, including yes, people who know how to design and build new pipelines.

But the news on the U.S. ability to deliver natural gas where it needs to go now is very encouraging. According to the Energy Information Administration and the Congressional Research Service, our nation's pipeline infrastructure can meet the needs of growing natural gas demand.

Graph 3 4 3 An Established Distribution Network for Natural Gas

Vast new supplies of clean, domestic natural gas has led to rapid pipeline construction, according to EIA. And dramatic growth in shale projections has driven even more pipeline projects that will come online by the end of 2011.

This is the continuation of a trend that begin in 2008, when completions of new pipelines and expansion of existing pipelines were higher than they had been in more than a decade, increasing capacity by more than 44 billion cubic feet per day.

Meanwhile the Congressional Research Service says, 'it seems unlikely that on a national, aggregate scale, pipeline capacity would be a constraint on coal displacement' by existing natural gas combined cycle plants. Natural gas consumption required for the "maximum potential coal displacement by existing NGCC plants equate to about 15 BCF per day of natural gas, or about 7 percent of existing pipeline capacity.'

"A 7 percent increase in peak demand would appear manageable given the planned expansions to the pipeline system,' CRS concludes.