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Current Federal Regulations of Interstate Pipelines

William D. Watson, Oil and Natural Gas Pipelines: Wellhead to End User (1995)

This presentation of federal regulation of interstate pipeline contains four broad themes: the basics of utility regulation; a brief history of the regulatory changes that have led to current conditions; an outline of the current regulations affecting interstate pipelines; and a discussion of some existing problems and unresolved regulatory questions. The history of regulatory developments is included because it assists in understanding existing regulations and the current situation. Many of the current regulations areas answers to old questions and knowing how the questions developed helps understand the answers. Also, many people in the industry speak and think, in part, by reference to the prior regulations.

The goal of this paper is to show how federal regulation of interstate pipelines generally affects the gas industry as a whole and to provide a foundation for review of the details of pipeline regulation if needed. The primary issues of regulation that currently face interstate natural gas pipelines are questions relating to transportation. The emphasis in this paper is on those transportation issues rather than the regulation of pipeline rates or of the construction of new facilities.

Many of the FERC orders and decisions referred to in this paper were subject to multiple rehearings, modifications and updates by FERC, each of which resulted in a new se