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NATURAL GAS PRODUCTION IN TEXAS
Texas leads the nation in natural gas production, holding around 23 percent of the nation’s natural gas reserves. Natural gas is primarily methane (CH4) and is considered to be a more environmentally friendly fuel than oil. Methane is a nonreactive hydrocarbon, which means its emissions do not react with sunlight to create smog.
Natural gas is used for heating, generating electricity and making transportation fuel. It is also a raw material found in plastics, medicines, fertilizers and dyes. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 22 percent of energy consumption in America comes from natural gas.
Natural gas in Texas was first discovered as a by-product of oil. As oil production and exploration increased, gas production began to rise, peaking in 1972 with a total of 9.6 trillion cubic feet produced annually in Texas. Texas has maintained a steady level of natural gas production with the help of the discovery of major natural gas fields such as Newark, East field in North-Central Texas, the Carthage field in East Texas, the Panhandle, West field in the Anadarko Basin, and the Giddings field in the Gulf Coast Basin. Texas natural gas production levels have also been maintained by an increasing number of production wells, which are now at an all-time high. Today many of the new exploration and production activities in Texas involve natural gas rather than oil.
Most of the natural gas production in the U.S. is concentrated around Texas and the Gulf of Mexico. A study by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), Oil and Gas Journal and World Oil showed that the U.S. contains 3 percent of the world’s total natural gas reserves. Of this 3 percent, nearly half of the production occurs in Texas and Louisiana. The largest onshore natural gas field in Texas is the Barnett Shale field in the Bend Arch-Fort Worth Basin in north central Texas. Natural gas distributors in Texas include but are not limited to the Texas Gas Service, the Gateway Energy Corporation, and the West Texas Gas, Inc.