The Federal Power Commission warned yesterday that unless the weather remains moderate and Canada continues to provide emergency natural gas shipments, some eastern seaboard states will face up to 15 per cent gas curtailments for industrial uses this summer.
FPC Chairman Richard L. Dunham said, "There will be some gas curtailments, running from 5 to 15 per cent in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia and North Carolina."
"The situation is not likely to be as critical as we thought a few weeks ago. With conservation and switching to alternative fuels, we may not have a severe situation," Dunham said.
Dunham said the three major gas transmission companies that would curtail gas shipments this summer are Columbia Gas Transmission Corp., Transcontinental Gas Pipeline Corp. (Transco), and Consolidate Gas Supply Corp., all of which serve eastern seaboard states.
Columbia and Transco serve the Washington metropolitan area.
Jerome E. Hass. a senior FPC economist, said, "These shortages will have no impact on residential users."
Hass said that the companies will face a deficit of 230 to 380 billion cubic feet because of obligations to pay back 20 to 30 billion cubic feet of gas borrowed earlier this winter and to replenish 210 to 350 billion cubic feet drawn down during the winter.
According to Dunham North Carolina will be the most affected state.
Tenney I. Deane, chairman of the North Carolian Utilities Commission said, "We don't anticipate having severe shortages that will put people out of work," but "we will not have enough gas flowing to meet large industrial needs."
During the severest winter months, Transco, which is North Carolina's major supplier, curtailed users in that state by as much as 62 per cent.
Deane said Transco will probably be forced to curtail shipments to North Carolina between April and November by as much as 70 per cent.
Deane said there may be only enough gas in North Carolina to meet residential and small commercial need
FPC officials said they hope Canada will ship and additional 20 to 50 billion cubic feet of gas over the next five months to alleviate shortages. The United States has also received some emergency gas shipments from Mexico.
Canadian Energy Minister Alastair Gillespie met at the White House yesterday with President Carter's energy adviser, James R. Schlesinger, and told reporters afterward that officials from both countries would probably meet next week to discuss further emergency gas shipments.
Gillespie said replenishing Canada's own depleted gas storage would have first priority. In addition, "I want to be satisfied that the United States can't replenish that shortage itself," Gillespie said.