Annual Gas Distribution Survey

Annual Gas Distribution Survey
February 2011, Vol. 66 No. 2

Each day, close to 70 million customers in the United States depend upon the nation’s natural gas distribution network, including gas distribution companies and pipelines, to deliver gas to their home or place of business. These customers currently consume approximately 20 Tcf of gas per annum, accounting for about 22 percent of the total energy consumed in the United States each year.

This end use customer base is 92 percent residential units, 7 percent commercial businesses, and 1 percent large industrial and electric power generation customers.

However, the large volume users, though small in number, account for more than 60 percent of the gas used by end users. The more than 1,500 companies that carry out the gas distribution process are varied in size and type. They include gas local distribution companies (LDCs) serving millions of customers, as well as those that serve less than 100. They also include mainline gas pipeline companies that provide direct service mostly to large volume end users, although the bulk of the gas transported by pipelines usually reaches end users via LDCs.

A recent report from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) indicates that the nation’s more than 1,500 local distribution companies are facing challenges in the coming year. While U.S. natural gas consumption is projected to rise, prices are not expected to follow.

The EIA’s Short Term Energy Outlook, released Oct. 13, 2010, projects an increase in U.S. gas consumption of 4.6 percent and 0.1 percent in 2010 and 2011, respectively.

Annual Mileage for Natural Gas Distribution Pipelines 1984-2009
PHMSA1.PNG
Historical totals may change as PHMSA receives supplemental information.

According to the report, consumption of gas in the industrial and electric power sectors makes up the bulk of the year-over-year increase in consumption in 2010.