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Bureau of Mines / Minerals yearbook: Metals, minerals, and fuels 1972
Year 1972, Volume 1 (1972)

Harper, William B.; Fanelli, Leonard L.
Natural gas,   pp. 807-847 ff. PDF (4.1 MB)

Page 807

  807Natural Gas 
By William B. Harper1 and Leonard L. Fanelli2 
 Natural gas consumption in 1972 was only slightly above that of 1971. Pipeline
transmission companies were compelled to curtail sales to industrial consumers.
However, these curtailments were slightly more than offset by increases in
residential and commercial uses. Total natural gas used in 1972 amounted
to nearly 23 trillion cubic feet, or nearly 1.5% over that of 1971. Production
totaled 22.5 trillion cubic feet in 1972, a volume only 38.7 billion cubic
feet or 1% higher thanAhat of 1971, as shown in table 1. PipeliI~e imports
passed the 1 trillion-cubic-foot milestone in 1972, rising to 1,019 billion
cubic feet, a 9.1% increase. Canada accounted for all but 1% of imports in
1972. In addition, 674,000 barrels of liquefied natural gas (LNG), equivalent
to 2,261.5 million cubic feet (MMcf), were imported from Algeria and Canada.
 Approximately 30 billion cubic feet of natural gas was exported by pipeline,
of which 52% was moved to Canada by pipeline. Mexico received 14.6 billion
cubic feet or 48% also by pipeline. In addition, 47.9 billion cubic feet
of LNG was exported to Japan from Alaska during 1972. 
 Proved reserves of natural gas declined again as withdrawals (production)
exceeded, by a wide margin, additions to reserves from new discoveries and
extensions of known fields. Also, previous estimates of reserves were revised
downward drastically, particularly in Texas. 
 The average value of natural gas at the well inched upward 0.4 cents from
18.2 cents to 18.6 cents per thousand cubic feet (Mcf). 
 Some 604,000 new residential users of natural gas were added, raising the
total to 39,871,000 by the end of 1972, for an increase of 1.5%. The use
of gas by residential clients increased 3.0%. 
 Pipeline networks expanded in 1972. Some 16,500 miles of line were added
manly in the distribution category. Capital expenditures for new plants and
equipment rose from $2,419 million in 1971 to $2,822 million in 1972. Construction
of new synthetic gas plants using liquid hydrocarbons, such as naphtha for
feedstocks, are progressing slowly. One such plant, designed to operate seasonally,
has been completed, and two similar plants are expected to start up early
in 1974. At the end of 1972, there were three plants under construction.
 Coal gasification received additional impetus as the result of an agreement
between the Department of the Interior and the American Gas Association (AGA)
to jointly finance a research program that will cost about $120 million over
a 4-year period. This project is being funded through the Department of the
Interior's Office of Coal Research. 
 Inability to obtain additional gas supplies has created problems for both
the transmission companies and the distributors. Firm volume curtailments
for the 1972—73 winter season, reported by 14 pipeline transmission
companies, totaled 565.6 billion cubic feet according to the Federal Power
Commission (FPC). 
 Legislation and Government Programs.— Federal Power Commission (FPC)
Area Rate Proceedings: 
 South Louisiana Area—Subsequent to the issuance by the FPC of Opinion
598 establishing base area rates in the South Louisiana Area, the Commission
issued another opinion, Opinion 598-A, on rehearing in September 1972. Arguments
were heard in October 1972, and since then the Fifth Circuit Court has affirmed
FPC Opinion 598 which accepted the United Distribution Companies (UDC) Settlement
Proposal in the second South Louisiana Area 
 1 Mineral specialist, Division of Fossil Fuels. 
 2 Survey statistician, Division of Fossil Fuels. 

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