Natural Gas

‹ See All Natural Gas Reports

Natural Gas Processing Plants in the United States: 2010 Update

Release Date:  Jun 17, 2011

National Overview

Btu Content

The natural gas received and transported by the major intrastate and interstate mainline transmission systems must be within a specific energy (Btu) content range.  Generally, the acceptable Btu content is 1,035 Btu per cubic foot, with an acceptable deviation of +/-50 Btu. However, when natural gas is extracted, its Btu content can be very different from acceptable pipeline specifications. The Btu content of natural gas extracted varies depending on the presence of water, NGLs, as well as CO2, nitrogen, helium, and others.

Significant amounts of NGLs in natural gas is generally associated with higher Btu values. Consistent with this, Btu values reported by plants in Texas and other Gulf of Mexico States are comparatively high (Table 3). On the other hand, coalbed methane and CO2-rich natural gas generally has much lower Btu values, as evidenced by the lower Btu values in the ranges depicted in the table below. Some notable examples of States that are home to coalbed methane fields are New Mexico, Wyoming, Oklahoma, and Colorado. In States with coalbed methane fields, shale gas, and conventional fields, the Btu values reported by processing plant operators showed wide ranges. This was particularly the case in Oklahoma, as well as Wyoming, New Mexico, and North Dakota.

Table 3. Btu Content at Plant Inlets for Processing Plants by State, 2009

 

Minimum Annual Btu Content

Maximum Annual Btu Content

Average Annual Btu Content

Alaska

850

1071

985

Alabama

1030

1469

1217

Arkansas

1030

1300

1156

California

950

1325

1145

Colorado

540

1614

1136

Florida

1250

1250

1250

Illinois

1084

1595

1340

Kansas

910

1194

1060

Kentucky

950

1290

1192

Louisiana

1000

1220

1096

Michigan

1010

1500

1244

Mississippi

1030

1235

1139

Montana

1010

1460

1253

North Dakota

330

1700

1227

New Mexico

195

1431

1128

Oklahoma

84

1349

1105

Pennsylvania

1150

1350

1275

Tennessee

1200

1200

1200

Texas

183

1456

1182

Utah

970

1250

1120

West Virginia

1149

1250

1218

Wyoming

344

1490

1102

U.S. Average

829

1364

1171

Source: Energy Information Administration, Office of Oil and Gas. Data in the table are based on information collected on Form EIA-757, Natural Gas Processing Survey, Schedule A.