Definitions, Sources and Explanatory Notes

 Category:   Natural Gas Consumption 
 Topic:   Heat Content of Natural Gas Consumed


Key Terms Definition
British Thermal Unit (Btu) The quantity of heat required to raise the temperature of 1 pound of liquid water by 1 degree Fahrenheit at the temperature at which water has its greatest density (approximately 39 degrees Fahrenheit).
Delivered to Consumers (Heat Content) Heat content of residential, commercial, industrial, vehicle fuel and electric power deliveries to consumers.
Electric Power (Heat Content) Heat content of natural gas used as fuel in the electric power sector.
Heat Content The amount of heat energy available to be released by the transformation or use of a specified physical unit of an energy form (e.g., a ton of coal, a barrel of oil, a kilowatthour of electricity, a cubic foot of natural gas, or a pound of steam). The amount of heat energy is commonly expressed in British thermal units (Btu). Note: Heat content of combustible energy forms can be expressed in terms of either gross heat content (higher or upper heating value) or net heat content (lower heating value), depending upon whether or not the available heat energy includes or excludes the energy used to vaporize water (contained in the original energy form or created during the combustion process). The Energy Information Administration typically uses gross heat content values.
Other Sectors (Heat Content) Heat content of total natural gas consumption excluding the electric power sector.
Total Consumption (Heat Content) Heat content of all deliveries to consumers plus heat content of lease and plant fuel and pipeline and distribution use.

For definitions of related energy terms, refer to the EIA Energy Glossary.


  • Form EIA-176, "Annual Report of Natural and Supplemental Gas Supply and Disposition"
  • Form EIA-895, "Monthly and Annual Quantity and Value of Natural Gas Production Report"
  • Form EIA-906, "Power Plant Report"
  • Form EIA-920, "Combined Heat and Power Plant Report"
  • Form EIA-923, "Power Plant Operations Report"

  • Background on "Natural Gas Annual" data
  • Natural Gas Survey Forms and Instructions

  •   Explanatory Notes