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Natural Gas Energy content, statistics, and pricing

Quantities of natural gas are measured innormal cubic meters(cubic meter of gas at "normal" temperature 0 °C (32 °F) and pressure 101.325 kPa (14.6959 psi)) orstandard cubic feet(cubic foot of gas at "standard" temperature 60.0 °F (15.6 °C) and pressure 14.73 psi (101.6 kPa)), one cubic meter ≈ 35.3147 cu ft. Thegross heat of combustionof commercial quality natural gas is around 39 MJ/m3(0.31 kWh/cu ft), but this can vary by several percent. This is about 49 MJ/kg (6.2 kWh/lb) (assuming a density of 0.8 kg/m3(0.05 lb/cu ft),an approximate value).

European Union[edit source]

Gas prices for end users vary greatly across the EU.[128] A single European energy market, one of the key objectives of the EU, should level the prices of gas in all EU member states. Moreover, it would help to resolve supply and global warming issues,as well as strengthen relations with other Mediterranean countries and foster investments in the region.

United States

In US units, one standard cubic foot (28 L) of natural gas produces around 1,028 British thermal units (1,085 kJ). The actual heating value when the water formed does not condense is the net heat of combustion and can be as much as 10% less.

In the United States, retail sales are often in units of therms (th); 1 therm = 100,000 BTU. Gas sales to domestic consumers are often in units of 100 standard cubic feet (scf). Gas meters measure the volume of gas used, and this is converted to therms by multiplying the volume by the energy content of the gas used during that period, which varies slightly over time. The typical annual consumption of a single family residence is 1,000 therms or one Residential Customer Equivalent (RCE). Wholesale transactions are generally done in decatherms (Dth), thousand decatherms (MDth), or million decatherms (MMDth). A million decatherms is a trillion BTU, roughly a billion cubic feet of natural gas.

The price of natural gas varies greatly depending on location and type of consumer. In 2007, a price of $7 per 1000 cubic feet ($0.25/m3) was typical in the United States. The typical caloric value of natural gas is roughly 1,000 BTU per cubic foot, depending on gas composition. This corresponds to around $7 per million BTU or around $7 per gigajoule (GJ). In April 2008, the wholesale price was $10 per 1000 cubic feet ($10/million BTU).The residential price varies from 50% to 300% more than the wholesale price. At the end of 2007, this was $12–$16 per 1000 cubic feet ($0.42–$0.57/m3).Natural gas in the United States is traded as a futures contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Each contract is for 10,000 million BTU or 10 billion BTU (10,551 GJ). Thus, if the price of gas is $10/million BTU on the NYMEX, the contract is worth $100,000.

Canada[edit source]

Canada uses metric measure for internal trade of petrochemical products. Consequently, natural gas is sold by the gigajoule (GJ), cubic meter (m3) or thousand cubic meters (E3m3). Distribution infrastructure and meters almost always meter volume (cubic foot or cubic meter). Some jurisdictions, such as Saskatchewan, sell gas by volume only. Other jurisdictions, such as Alberta, gas is sold by the energy content (GJ). In these areas, almost all meters for residential and small commercial customers measure volume (m3 or ft3), and billing statements include a multiplier to convert the volume to energy content of the local gas supply.

A gigajoule (GJ) is a measure approximately equal to half a barrel (250 lbs) of oil, or 1 million BTUs, or 1,000 cu ft or 28 m3 of gas. The energy content of gas supply in Canada can vary from 37 to 43 MJ/m3 (990 to 1,150 BTU/cu ft) depending on gas supply and processing between the wellhead and the customer.

Elsewhere[edit source]

Outside of the European Union, the U.S., and Canada, natural gas is sold in gigajoule retail units. LNG (liquefied natural gas) and LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) are traded in metric tonnes (1,000 kg) or million BTU as spot deliveries. Long term natural gas distribution contracts are signed in cubic meters, and LNG contracts are in metric tonnes. The LNG and LPG is transported by specialized transport ships, as the gas is liquified at cryogenic temperatures. The specification of each LNG/LPG cargo will usually contain the energy content, but this information is in general not available to the public.

In the Russian Federation, Gazprom sold approximately 250 billion cubic meters (8.8 trillion cubic feet) of natural gas in 2008. In 2013 they produced 487.4 billion cubic meters (17.21 trillion cubic feet) of natural and associated gas. Gazprom supplied Europe with 161.5 billion cubic meters (5.70 trillion cubic feet) of gas in 2013.

In August 2015, possibly the largest natural gas discovery in history was made and notified by an Italian gas company ENI. The energy company indicated that it has unearthed a "supergiant" gas field in the Mediterranean Sea covering about 40 square miles (100 km2). It was also reported that the gas field could hold a potential 30 trillion cubic feet (850 billion cubic meters) of natural gas. ENI said that the energy is about5.5 billion barrels of oil equivalent [BOE] (3.4×1010 GJ). The field was found in the deep waters off the northern coast of Egypt and ENI claims that it will be the largest ever in the Mediterranean and even the world.

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