Disputes over ownership of natural gas typically arise between gas storage and pipeline companies storing gas in geologic formations thousands of feet below ground surface, and companies supposedly producing native natural gas from areas in the vicinity of those storage fields. Some states provide that an injector of natural gas does not lose title or possession of gas that has migrated to adjoining property or to another stratum if the injector can prove that such gas was originally injected into underground storage. Those states also give the injector the right to conduct tests on existing wells to determine the origin of such gas.
Delivery of natural gas from storage fields to customers through hundreds of miles of pipelines face problems including corrosion and failure of pipelines and seals. These problems occur when integrity assessments are not properly or routinely conducted, and could potentially result in large financial consequences.
In natural gas ownership disputes, Exponent offers a proven team to assist in identifying the source of the natural gas in question. We have particular expertise in geochemical fingerprinting techniques for this purpose. Exponent has successfully applied those techniques to disputes and litigation in several states involving gas storage fields in an effort to identify gas sources.
Our activities have included:
- Design and implementation of natural gas field sampling and analysis plans
- Hydrocarbon and non-hydrocarbon compositional determinations
- Identification of natural gas tracers to identify the origin of a gas sample
- Interpretation of chemical and isotope data to identify natural gas sources
- Expert reports and testimony
A key element of a successful implementation of a gas pipeline integrity program includes incorporating the lessons learned from previous pipeline failures. Exponent has investigated more than 1,200 pipeline failures, has assisted major pipeline operators all over the world in performing pipeline integrity assessments/risk assessments to quantify safety and environmental risks and to define cost-effective methods to reduce these risks. In addition, Exponent is recognized worldwide as a leader in providing scientific and engineering consulting services to the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) utility industry.