This paper was prepared for the Second Midwest Oil and Gas Industry Symposium of the Society of Petroleum Engineers of AIME, to be held in Indianapolis, Ind., March 28–29, 1974. Permission to copy is restricted to an abstract of not more than 300 words. Illustrations may not be copied. The abstract should contain conspicuous acknowledgment of where and by whom the paper is presented. Publication elsewhere after publication in the JOURNAL OF PETROLEUM TECHNOLOGY or the SOCIETY OF PETROLEUM ENGINEERS JOURNAL is usually granted upon request to the Editor of the appropriate journal provided agreement to give proper credit is made.

Discussion of this paper is invited. Three copies of any discussion should be sent to the Society of Petroleum Engineers office. Such discussion may be presented at the above meeting and, with the paper, may be considered for publication in one of the two SPE magazines.


A continued difficulty in meeting demand for natural gas has forced many gas utilities to seek supplementary supply by synthetic production. Particular interest has been drawn to gasification of petroleum fractions.

From 1972 throughout 1973 the number of interested companies has increased tremendously. A number of synthetic gas plants are presently operating in the Eastern part of the United States.

In the Middle West a considerable activity has taken place also. A number of plants are in start-up or operation and at least two (2) additional plants should be in full operation during the heating season of 1974–1975.

The Peoples Gas Light and Coke Company's SNG Plant is particularly unique in that being a grass-roots plant it had to be designed with extreme care to prevent any adverse environmental impact. prevent any adverse environmental impact. As a result, special systems and methods were incorporated into the plant's complex make-up.


Most gas utilities instituted a major program in the late 1960's to find and develop new sources of natural gas. The continued growth of energy requirements in the nation made a severe impact on the entire gas industry. Natural Gas was being used to such a great extent that it represented about 40% of the total national energy used. Since wellhead prices were controlled and no deregulation was in sight, drilling incentive dropped off to such an extent that supplies to the nation were being decreased.

A study was conducted on the advisability of producing supplementary gas supplies through such means as synthetic gas production, importing of liquefied natural gas and development of Alaska gas fields. Unfortunately, satisfaction of demands by most of these methods was not envisioned until well after 1980. The actuality of this shortage was brought to the public when on July 16, 1973, the Federal Power Commission released a statement wherein it was estimated that 15 major interstate transmission companies would be forced to curtail their firm gas contract deliveries by 1.16 trillion cubic feet.

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