Is It Feasible to Make Common Carriers of Natural Gas Transmission Lines?
- Samuel S. Wyer
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Transactions of the AIME
- Publication Date
- December 1915
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 471 - 480
- 1915. Original copyright American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers, Inc. Copyright has expired.
- 7.5.1 Ethics, 4.6 Natural Gas, 4.2 Pipelines, Flowlines and Risers
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- 152 since 2007
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Over 8,000,000 people in the United States depend on natural gas for theircooking, heating and lighting service. This service has been made possible onlyby the investment of large amounts of capital in transportation linesconnecting the gas wells to the various communities, thus combining a hazardousmining operation with a public utility service. The effect that making theselines "common carriers" will have on the present and future service tothese 8,000,000 or more people is of far reaching ethical and economicimportance, and deserves careful consideration. As an introduction, it must beconceded that:
1. Natural gas, although a mineral and obtained by a mining operation with moreuncontrollable and uncertain features to cope with than exist in the mining ofcoal or other minerals when served to the public becomes a public utilityservice.
2. The governmental power to regulate all public utilities in the interests ofthe public cannot be successfully disputed.
3. Mere suggestion of inconvenience to the utility is wholly irrelevant, as itcannot be considered or allowed to influence in making a defense againstgovernmental regulation. Unfortunately it is not generally appreciatedthat:
1. Legislative enactments are not necessarily laws, and cannot abrogateeconomic laws or alter engineering facts.
2. There is a clear distinction between "common carrier' and "publicutility," although the terms are frequently confused. "A common carrieris one who undertakes for hire to transport persons or goods, or both, fromplace to place for all persons indifferently, the term implying indifference asto whom shall be served, and an equal readiness to serve all who apply, in theorder of their application."
On the other hand, property becomes a "public utility" only "whenfor a particular purpose the public have a right to resort
to the premises and make use of them."
It is, therefore, important to note that not all public utilities can beregarded as common carriers.
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