American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers, Inc.

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.


This paper analyses the factors which will influence the future of gaseous fuels in the United States. The gas industry faces several interrelated problems which have combined both to create the present natural gas shortage and to delay finding solutions to it. The base reason for the shortage is almost universally conceded to be the misapplication of Federal regulation of the wellhead price of gas. Confusing the issue, however, are a general lack of understanding, at the decision making level of government, as to the significance of gaseous fuels to our economy, and a misconception as to the feasibility of alternatives. Discussed are factors which will affect future trends in fuel usage, the importance of natural gas supplementals, the economic impact of an extended severe gas shortage, the need for increased new gas exploration, the availability of new gas supplies, the limitations of the "all electric" argument, and the case for deregulation. This paper concludes that there must be a national imperative for a continuity of our gaseous fuel supply.


The people of the United States, after more than a year and a half of "shortages" and crisis talk, still do not understand the real dimensions of the energy situation. They view the predicament almost solely in terms of predicament almost solely in terms of Mideast oil and its dollar-wise impact on gasoline prices and electricity bills.

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