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natural gas

Balancing item:  Represents differences between the sum of the components of natural gas supply and the sum of the components of natural gas disposition. These differences may be due to quantities lost or to the effects of data reporting problems. Reporting problems include differences due to the net result of conversions off low data metered at varying temperature and pressure bases and converted to a standard temperature and pressure base; the effect of variations in company accounting and billing practices; differences between billing cycle and calendar period time frames; and imbalances resulting from the merger of data reporting systems that vary in scope, format, definitions, and type of respondents.

Base gas:  The quantity of natural gas needed to maintain adequate reservoir pressures and deliverability rates throughout the withdrawal season. Base gas usually is not withdrawn and remains in the reservoir. All natural gas native to a depleted reservoir is included in the base gas volume.

Biomass:  Organic nonfossil material of biological origin constituting a renewable energy source.

British thermal unit:  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).

Citygate:  A point or measuring station at which a distributing gas utility receives gas from a natural gas pipeline company or transmission system.

Coke oven gas:  The mixture of permanent gases produced by the carbonization of coal in a coke oven at temperatures in excess of 1,000 degrees Celsius.

Compressed natural gas (CNG):  Natural gas compressed to a pressure at or above 200-248 bar (i.e., 2900-3600 pounds per square inch) and stored in high-pressure containers. It is used as a fuel for natural gas-powered vehicles.

Condensate (lease condensate):  Light liquid hydrocarbons recovered from lease separators or field facilities at associated and non-associated natural gas wells. Mostly pentanes and heavier hydrocarbons. Normally enters the crude oil stream after production.

Delivered (gas):  The physical transfer of natural, synthetic, and/or supplemental gas from facilities operated by the responding company to facilities operated by others or to consumers.

Depleted storage field:  A sub-surface natural geological reservoir, usually a depleted gas or oil field, used for storing natural gas.

Dry natural gas:  Natural gas which remains after: 1) the liquefiable hydrocarbon portion has been removed from the gas stream (i.e., gas after lease, field, and/or plant separation); and 2) any volumes of nonhydrocarbon gases have been removed where they occur in sufficient quantity to render the gas unmarketable. Note: Dry natural gas is also known as consumer-grade natural gas. The parameters for measurement are cubic feet at 60 degrees Fahrenheit and 14.73 pounds per square inch absolute. Also see Natural gas.

Dry natural gas production:  The process of producing consumer-grade natural gas. Natural gas withdrawn from reservoirs is reduced by volumes used at the production (lease) site and by processing losses. Volumes used at the production site include (1) the volume returned to reservoirs in cycling, repressuring of oil reservoirs, and conservation operations; and (2) gas vented and flared. Processing losses include (1) nonhydrocarbon gases (e.g., water vapor, carbon dioxide, helium, hydrogen sulfide, and nitrogen) removed from the gas stream; and (2) gas converted to liquid form, such as lease condensate and plant liquids. Volumes of dry gas withdrawn from gas storage reservoirs are not considered part of production. Dry natural gas production equals marketed production less extraction loss.

Electric power sector:  An energy-consuming sector that consists of electricity only and combined heat and power(CHP) plants whose primary business is to sell electricity, or electricity and heat, to the public--i.e., North American Industry Classification System 22 plants. See also Combined heat and power (CHP) plant and Electricity only plant.

Electric utility:  A corporation, person, agency, authority, or other legal entity or instrumentality aligned with distribution facilities for delivery of electric energy for use primarily by the public. Included are investor-owned electric utilities, municipal and State utilities, Federal electric utilities, and rural electric cooperatives. A few entities that are tariff based and corporately aligned with companies that own distribution facilities are also included.

Exports:  Shipments of goods from within the 50 States and the District of Columbia to U.S. possessions and territories or to foreign countries.

Extraction loss:  See Natural gas plant liquids (NGPL) production.

Flare:  A tall stack equipped with burners used as a safety device at wellheads, refining facilities, gas processing plants, and chemical plants. Flares are used for the combustion and disposal of combustible gases. The gases are piped to a remote, usually elevated, location and burned in an open flame in the open air using a specially designed burner tip, auxiliary fuel, and steam or air. Combustible gases are flared most often due to emergency relief, overpressure, process upsets, startups, shutdowns, and other operational safety reasons. Natural gas that is uneconomical for sale is also flared. Often natural gas is flared as a result of the unavailability of a method for transporting such gas to markets.

Gas Condensate Well Gas:  Natural gas remaining after the removal of the lease condensate.

Gas well:  A well completed for production of natural gas from one or more gas zones or reservoirs. Such wells contain no completions for the production of crude oil.

Gross withdrawals:  Full well stream volume from both oil and gas wells, including all natural gas plant liquids and nonhydrocarbon gases after oil, lease condensate, and water have been removed. Also includes production delivered as royalty payments and production used as fuel on the lease.

Heating value:  The average number of British thermal units per cubic foot of natural gas as determined from tests of fuel samples.

Hydrocarbon gas liquids (HGL):  A group of hydrocarbons including ethane, propane, normal butane, isobutane, and natural gasoline, and their associated olefins, including ethylene, propylene, butylene, and isobutylene. As marketed products, HGL represents all natural gas liquids (NGL) and olefins. EIA reports production of HGL from refineries (liquefied refinery gas, or LRG) and natural gas plants (natural gas plant liquids, or NGPL). Excludes liquefied natural gas (LNG).

Imports:  Receipts of goods into the 50 States and the District of Columbia from U.S. possessions and territories or from foreign countries.

Intransit deliveries:  Redeliveries to a foreign country of foreign gas received for transportation across U.S. territory, and deliveries of U.S. gas to a foreign country for transportation across its territory and redelivery to the United States.

Intransit receipts:  Receipts of foreign gas for transportation across U.S. territory and redelivery to a foreign country, and redeliveries to the United States of U.S. gas transported across foreign territory.

Lease and plant fuel:  Natural gas used in well, field, and lease operations (such as gas used in drilling operations, heaters, dehydrators, and field compressors) and as fuel in natural gas processing plants.

Lease fuel:  Natural gas used in well, field, and lease operations, such as gas used in drilling operations, heaters, dehydrators, and field compressors.

Lease separator:  A facility installed at the surface for the purpose of separating the full well stream volume into two or three parts at the temperature and pressure conditions set by the separator. For oil wells, these parts include produced crude oil, natural gas, and water. For gas wells, these parts include produced natural gas, lease condensate, and water.

Liquefied natural gas (LNG):  Natural gas (primarily methane) that has been liquefied by reducing its temperature to -260 degrees Fahrenheit at atmospheric pressure.

Manufactured gas:  A gas obtained by destructive distillation of coal or by the thermal decomposition of oil, or by the reaction of steam passing through a bed of heated coal or coke. Examples are coal gases, coke oven gases, producer gas, blast furnace gas, blue (water) gas, carbureted water gas. Btu content varies widely.

Marketed production:  Gross withdrawals less gas used for repressuring, quantities vented and flared, and nonhydrocarbon gases removed in treating or processing operations. Includes all quantities of gas used in field and processing plant operations.

Native gas:  Gas in place at the time that a reservoir was converted to use as an underground storage reservoir in contrast to injected gas volumes.

Natural gas:  A gaseous mixture of hydrocarbon compounds, the primary one being methane.

Natural gas field facility:  A field facility designed to process natural gas produced from more than one lease for the purpose of recovering condensate from a stream of natural gas; however, some field facilities are designed to recover propane, normal butane, pentanes plus, etc., and to control the quality of natural gas to be marketed.

Natural gas gross withdrawals:  Full well-stream volume of produced natural gas, excluding condensate separated at the lease.

Natural gas hydrates:  Solid, crystalline, wax-like substances composed of water, methane, and usually a small amount of other gases, with the gases being trapped in the interstices of a water-ice lattice. They form beneath permafrost and on the ocean floor under conditions of moderately high pressure and at temperatures near the freezing point of water.

Natural gas lease production:  Gross withdrawals of natural gas minus gas production injected on the lease into producing reservoirs, vented, flared, used as fuel on the lease, and nonhydrocarbon gases removed in treating or processing operations on the lease.

Natural Gas Liquids (NGL):  A group of hydrocarbons including ethane, propane, normal butane, isobutane, and natural gasoline. Generally include natural gas plant liquids and all liquefied refinery gases except olefins.

Natural gas liquids production:  The volume of natural gas liquids removed from natural gas in lease separators, field facilities, gas processing plants, or cycling plants during the report year.

Natural gas marketed production:  Gross withdrawals of natural gas from production reservoirs, less gas used for reservoir repressuring, nonhydrocarbon gases removed in treating and processing operations, and quantities vented and flared.

Natural gas marketer:  A company that arranges purchases and sales of natural gas. Unlike pipeline companies or local distribution companies, a marketer does not own physical assets commonly used in the supply of natural gas, such as pipelines or storage fields. A marketer may be an affiliate of another company, such as a local distribution company, natural gas pipeline, or producer, but it operates independently of other segments of the company. In States with residential choice programs, marketers serve as alternative suppliers to residential users of natural gas, which is delivered by a local distribution company.

Natural gas plant liquids (NGPL):  Those hydrocarbons in natural gas that are separated as liquids at natural gas processing, fractionating, and cycling plants. Products obtained include ethane, liquefied petroleum gases (propane, normal butane, and isobutane), and natural gasoline. Component products may be fractionated or mixed. Lease condensate and plant condensate are excluded. Note: Some EIA publications categorize NGPL production as field production, in accordance with definitions used prior to January 2014.

Natural gas plant liquids (NGPL) production:  The extraction of gas plant liquids constituents such as ethane, propane, normal butane, isobutane, and natural gasoline, sometimes referred to as extraction loss. Usually reported in barrels or gallons, but may be reported in cubic feet for purposes of comparison with dry natural gas volumes.

Natural Gas Policy Act of 1978 (NGPA):  Signed into law on November 9, 1978, the NGPA is a framework for the regulation of most facets of the natural gas industry.

Natural gas processing plant:  Facilities designed to recover natural gas liquids from a stream of natural gas that may or may not have passed through lease separators and/or field separation facilities. These facilities control the quality of the natural gas to be marketed. Cycling plants are classified as gas processing plants.

Natural gas production:  See Dry natural gas production.

Natural Gas Used for Injection:  Natural gas used to pressurize crude oil reservoirs in an attempt to increase oil recovery or in instances where there is no market for the natural gas. Natural gas used for injection is sometimes referred to as repressuring.

Natural gas utility demand-side management (DSM) program sponsor:  A DSM (demand-side management) program sponsored by a natural gas utility that suggests ways to increase the energy efficiency of buildings, to reduce energy costs, to change the usage patterns, or to promote the use of a different energy source.

Natural gas, "dry":  See Dry natural gas.

Natural gasoline:  A commodity product commonly traded in NGL markets that comprises liquid hydrocarbons (mostly pentanes and hexanes) and generally remains liquid at ambient temperatures and atmospheric pressure. Natural gasoline is equivalent to pentanes plus.

Natural Gasoline and Isopentane:  A mixture of hydrocarbons, mostly pentanes and heavier, extracted from natural gas, that meets vapor pressure, end-point, and other specifications for natural gasoline set by the Gas Processors Association. Includes isopentane which is a saturated branch-chain hydrocarbon, (C5H12), obtained by fractionation of natural gasoline or isomerization of normal pentane.

Nonhydrocarbon gases:  Typical nonhydrocarbon gases that may be present in reservoir natural gas, such as carbondioxide, helium, hydrogen sulfide, and nitrogen.

Nonutility power producer:  A corporation, person, agency, authority, or other legal entity or instrumentality that owns or operates facilities for electric generation and is not an electric utility. Nonutility power producers include qualifying cogenerators, qualifying small power producers, and other nonutility generators (including independent power producers). Non-utility power producers are without a designated franchised service area and do not file forms listed in the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 18, Part 141

Offshore reserves and production:  Unless otherwise dedicated, reserves and production that are in either state or Federal domains, located seaward of the coastline.

Oil well:  A well completed for the production of crude oil from at least one oil zone or reservoir.

Olefinic hydrocarbons (olefins):  Unsaturated hydrocarbon compounds with the general formula CnH2n containing at least one carbon-to-carbon double-bond. Olefins are produced at crude oil refineries and petrochemical plants and are not naturally occurring constituents of oil and natural gas. Sometimes referred to as alkenes or unsaturated hydrocarbons. Excludes aromatics.

On-system sales:  Sales to customers where the delivery point is a point on, or directly interconnected with, a transportation, storage, and/or distribution system operated by the reporting company.

Outer Continental Shelf:  Offshore Federal domain.

Paraffinic hydrocarbons:  Saturated hydrocarbon compounds with the general formula CnH2n+2 containing only single bonds. Sometimes referred to as alkanes or natural gas liquids.

Pipeline (natural gas):  A continuous pipe conduit, complete with such equipment as valves, compressor stations, communications systems, and meters for transporting natural and/or supplemental gas from one point to another, usually from a point in or beyond the producing field or processing plant to another pipeline or to points of utilization. Also refers to a company operating such facilities.

Pipeline fuel:  Gas consumed in the operation of pipelines, primarily in compressors.

Production, natural gas, wet after lease separation:  The volume of natural gas withdrawn from reservoirs less (1) the volume returned to such reservoirs in cycling, repressuring of oil reservoirs, and conservation operations; less (2) shrinkage resulting from the removal of lease condensate; and less (3) nonhydrocarbon gases where they occur in sufficient quantity to render the gas unmarketable. Note: Volumes of gas withdrawn from gas storage reservoirs and native gas that has been transferred to the storage category are not considered part of production. This production concept is not the same as marketed production, which excludes vented and flared gas.

Propane air:  A mixture of propane and air resulting in a gaseous fuel suitable for pipeline distribution.

Proved energy reserves:  Estimated quantities of energy sources that analysis of geologic and engineering data demonstrates with reasonable certainty are recoverable under existing economic and operating conditions. The location, quantity, and grade of the energy source are usually considered to be well established in such reserves. Note: This term is equivalent to "Measured Reserves" as defined in the resource/reserve classification contained in the U.S. Geological Survey Circular 831, 1980. Measured and indicated reserves, when combined, constitute demonstrated reserves.

Receipts:  

  • Deliveries of fuel to an electric plant
  • Purchases of fuel
  • All revenues received by an exporter for the reported quantity exported
  • Also see Received.

Refinery gas:  Still gas consumed as refinery fuel.

Refinery olefins:  Subset of olefinic hydrocarbons (olefins) produced at crude oil refineries, including ethylene, propylene, butylene, and isobutylene.

Repressuring:  The injection of gas into oil or gas formations to effect greater ultimate recovery.

Shale Gas:  Natural gas produced from wells that are open to shale formations. Shale is a fine-grained, sedimentary rock composed of mud from flakes of clay minerals and tiny fragments (silt-sized particles) of other materials. The shale acts as both the source and the reservoir for the natural gas. See natural gas.

Supplemental gaseous fuels supplies:  Synthetic natural gas, propane-air, coke oven gas, refinery gas, biomass gas, air injected for Btu stabilization, and manufactured gas commingled and distributed with natural gas.

Synthetic natural gas (SNG):  (Also referred to as substitute natural gas) A manufactured product, chemically similar in most respects to natural gas, resulting from the conversion or reforming of hydrocarbons that may easily be substituted for or interchanged with pipeline-quality natural gas.

Therm:  One hundred thousand (100,000) Btu.

Total Natural Gas Storage Field Capacity (Design Capacity):  The maximum quantity of natural gas (including both base gas and working gas) that can be stored in a natural gas underground storage facility in accordance with its design specifications, the physical characteristics of the reservoir, installed compression equipment, and operating procedures particular to the site. Reported storage field capacity data are reported in thousand cubic feet at standard temperature and pressure.

Unaccounted for (natural gas):  Represents differences between the sum of the components of natural gas supply and the sum of components of natural gas disposition. These differences maybe due to quantities lost or to the effects of data reporting problems. Reporting problems include differences due to the net result of conversions of flow data metered at varying temperatures and pressure bases and converted to a standard temperature and pressure base; the effect of variations in company accounting and billing practices; differences between billing cycle and calendar-period time frames; and imbalances resulting from the merger of data reporting systems that vary in scope, format, definitions, and type of respondents.

Underground natural gas storage:  The use of sub-surface facilities for storing natural gas for use at a later time. The facilities are usually hollowed-out salt domes, geological reservoirs (depleted oil or gas fields) or water-bearing sands (called aquifers) topped by an impermeable cap rock.

Underground natural gas storage injections:  Natural gas put (injected) into underground storage reservoirs.

Underground storage withdrawals:  Natural gas removed from underground storage reservoirs.

Unit value, consumption:  Total price per specified unit, including all taxes, at the point of consumption.

Unit value, wellhead:  The wellhead sales price, including charges for natural gas plant liquids subsequently removed from the gas; gathering and compression charges; and state production, severance, and/or similar charges.

Vehicle fuel consumption:  Vehicle fuel consumption is computed as the vehicle miles traveled divided by the fuel efficiency reported in miles per gallon (MPG). Vehicle fuel consumption is derived from the actual vehicle mileage collected and the assigned MPGs obtained from EPA certification files adjusted for on-road driving. The quantity of fuel used by vehicles.

Vented:  Natural gas that is disposed of by releasing to the atmosphere.

Vented natural gas:  See vented.

Wellhead:  The point at which the crude (and/or natural gas) exits the ground. Following historical precedent, the volume and price for crude oil production are labeled as "wellhead, "even though the cost and volume are now generally measured at the lease boundary. In the context of domestic crude price data, the term "wellhead" is the generic term used to reference the production site or lease property.

Wellhead price:  The value at the mouth of the well. In general, the wellhead price is considered to be the sales price obtainable from a third party in an arm's length transaction. Posted prices, requested prices, or prices as defined by lease agreements, contracts, or tax regulations should be used where applicable.

Working gas:  The quantity of natural gas in the reservoir that is in addition to the cushion or base gas. It may or may not be completely withdrawn during any particular withdrawal season. Conditions permitting, the total working capacity could be used more than once during any season. Volumes of working gas are reported in thousand cubic feet at standard temperature and pressure.