||H. Dale Beggs
- - - - - - download - - - - - -
Although natural gas has been utilized as a fuel for more than 150 years, the large demand for it has developed fairly recently. The principal reason for this is the greater difficulty of storing and transporting gas as compared to liquid fuels. Initially, natural gas was used only in the areas in which it was produced, with excess production being vented to the air or flared. This was especially true of gas produced along with the oil in oil fields. The development of large diameter, high pressure pipelines and compressors, along with the technology of gas storage in reservoirs, has spurred both the demand for natural gas and the development of the technology required to produce and transport it. This is illustrated in the United States by the fact that natural gas supplied more than 30% of the total energy demand in 1980 as compared to 18% in 1950 and less than 4% in 1920. Natural gas supplied about 20% of the energy worldwide in 1980. The increased demand has also gready increased the price obtained for the gas. In 1950 the average price for natural gas in the United States was about $0.07 per thousand standard cubic foot (Mscf), and as late as 1970 the price averaged only about $0.17/Mscf. In 1980 the average price had increased to more than $0.90/Mscf with gas in some areas selling for as much as $9.00/ Mscf. The large difference in the average and maximum selling price is due to the huge quantities being sold at very low prices under long term contracts made many years ago...