Natural gas reforming is an advanced and mature production process that builds upon the existing natural gas pipeline delivery infrastructure. Today, 95% of the hydrogen produced in the United States is made by natural gas reforming in large central plants. This is an important technology pathway for near-term hydrogen production.
In partial oxidation, the methane and other hydrocarbons in natural gas react with a limited amount of oxygen (typically from air) that is not enough to completely oxidize the hydrocarbons to carbon dioxide and water. With less than the stoichiometric amount of oxygen available, the reaction products contain primarily hydrogen and carbon monoxide (and nitrogen, if the reaction is carried out with air rather than pure oxygen), and a relatively small amount of carbon dioxide and other compounds. Subsequently, in a water-gas shift reaction, the carbon monoxide reacts with water to form carbon dioxide and more hydrogen.
Reforming low-cost natural gas can provide hydrogen today for fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) as well as other applications. Over the long term, DOE expects that hydrogen production from natural gas will be augmented with production from renewable, nuclear, coal (with carbon capture and storage), and other low-carbon, domestic energy resources.
Petroleum use and emissions are lower than for gasoline-powered internal combustion engine vehicles. The only product from an FCEV tailpipe is water vapor but even with the upstream process of producing hydrogen from natural gas as well as delivering and storing it for use in FCEVs, the total greenhouse gas emissions are cut in half and petroleum is reduced over 90% compared to today's gasoline vehicles.
Since 1993, EPA has partnered with oil and natural gas operators to encourage the identification and implementation of technologies and practices to reduce methane emissions from the oil and gas sector. Through the Natural Gas STAR Program, EPA hosts workshops and webinars, shares technical resources, and directly partners with oil and gas operators. EPA hosted the Natural Gas STAR partnership beginning in 1993 to provide a forum for industry partners to share their innovative and voluntary actions to reduce methane emissions; in 2022, at a time of unprecedented action on oil and gas methane emissions in the US, EPA transitioned the Natural Gas STAR Program to end the formal partnership while retaining the information-sharing aspects of the program. EPA continues to partner with oil and gas operators through the Methane Challenge Partnership.
To learn more about methane, visit EPA's Overview of Greenhouse Gases page. For more information about methane emissions in the natural gas industry, see the Annual Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks sections on Natural Gas Systems.
Many of our customers have been affected by the COVId-19 pandemic, and we are committed to ensuring that all of our customers maintain their natural gas service. There are several assistance programs available to our customers. If you need help with your gas bill, we encourage you to use our ProgramFinder to see which programs you may be eligible for. You can also call us at 1-800-400-WARM (9276) to learn more about your options.
At Peoples, we are more than just a natural gas service provider. We are a company that is truly passionate about serving you. Take a look at the articles below to see what we are doing to improve your home, support your community, drive your business, and protect the environment. From our customer service commitment to cutting edge technology, there are many ways that Peoples is Making Your Life Better.
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Whether natural gas has lower life cycle greenhouse gas emissions than coal and oil depends on the assumed leakage rate, the global warming potential of methane over different time frames, the energy conversion efficiency, and other factors . One recent study found that methane losses must be kept below 3.2 percent for natural gas power plants to have lower life cycle emissions than new coal plants over short time frames of 20 years or fewer . And if burning natural gas in vehicles is to deliver even marginal benefits, methane losses must be kept below 1 percent and 1.6 percent compared with diesel fuel and gasoline, respectively. Technologies are available to reduce much of the leaking methane, but deploying such technology would require new policies and investments .
Cleaner burning than other fossil fuels, the combustion of natural gas produces negligible amounts of sulfur, mercury, and particulates. Burning natural gas does produce nitrogen oxides (NOx), which are precursors to smog, but at lower levels than gasoline and diesel used for motor vehicles. DOE analyses indicate that every 10,000 U.S. homes powered with natural gas instead of coal avoids the annual emissions of 1,900 tons of NOx, 3,900 tons of SO2, and 5,200 tons of particulates . Reductions in these emissions translate into public health benefits, as these pollutants have been linked with problems such as asthma, bronchitis, lung cancer, and heart disease for hundreds of thousands of Americans .
Another potential avenue for groundwater contamination is natural or man-made fractures in the subsurface, which could allow stray gas to move directly between an oil and gas formation and groundwater supplies.
 Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP). 2009. Accessed September 15, 2013.Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Mineral Resources Management. 2008. Report on the investigation of the natural gas invasion of aquifers in Bainbridge Township of Geauga County, Ohio. September 1.
The CPUC and California Energy Commission will hold an en banc hearing on February 7 to bring together market experts to examine the possible drivers behind the natural gas price spikes and explore potential state actions that can be taken. The hearing includes participation of the California Independent System Operator and market experts from across the country to discuss possible drivers and explore any state measure to protect California customers. More information is available here.
The California Public Utilities Commission (Commission or CPUC) regulates natural gas utility rates and services provided by Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas), San Diego Gas & Electric Company (SDG&E), Southwest Gas and several smaller natural gas utilities. The natural gas services which the CPUC regulates include in-state transportation of natural gas over the utilities' extensive transmission and distribution pipeline systems, gas storage, procurement, metering and billing. The Commission also regulates independent gas storage operators Lodi Gas Storage, Wild Goose Storage, Central Valley Storage, and Gill Ranch Storage.
The overwhelming majority of natural gas utility customers in California are residential and small commercials customers, referred to as "core" customers. Larger volume gas customers, like electric generators and industrial customers, are called "noncore" customers. Although very small in number relative to core customers, noncore customers consume about 65% of the natural gas delivered by the state's natural gas utilities, while core customers consume about 35%.
SDG&E and Southwest Gas' southern division are wholesale customers of SoCalGas, i.e. they receive deliveries of gas from SoCalGas and in turn deliver that gas to their own customers. (Southwest Gas also provides natural gas distribution service in the Lake Tahoe area.) Similarly, West Coast Gas, a small gas utility, is a wholesale customer of PG&E. Some other wholesale customers are municipalities like the cities of Palo Alto, Long Beach, and Vernon, which are not regulated by the CPUC.
Most of the natural gas used in California comes from out-of-state natural gas basins. In 2017, for example, California utility customers received 38% of their natural gas supply from basins located in the U.S. Southwest, 27% from Canada, 27% from the U.S. Rocky Mountain area, and 8% from production located in California.
The state does not receive liquefied natural gas (LNG) supplies. Biogas (e.g. from wastewater treatment facilities or dairy farms) is just beginning to be delivered into the gas utility pipeline systems, and the State has been encouraging its development.
California's regulated utilities do not own any natural gas production facilities, and the Commission does not regulate California gas producers. All the natural gas sold by the utilities must be purchased from suppliers and/or marketers. The price of natural gas sold by suppliers and marketers was deregulated by the FERC in the mid-1980's and is determined by "market forces". However, the CPUC decides whether the California utilities have taken reasonable steps in order to minimize the cost of natural gas purchased on behalf of their core customers.
Natural gas from out-of-state production basins is delivered into California via the interstate natural gas pipeline system. The major interstate pipelines that deliver out-of-state natural gas to California gas utilities are Gas Transmission Northwest Pipeline, Kern River Pipeline, Transwestern Pipeline, El Paso Pipeline, Ruby Pipeline, Mojave Pipeline, and Tuscarora. Another pipeline, the North Baja - Baja Norte Pipeline takes gas off the El Paso Pipeline at the California/Arizona border, and delivers that gas through California into Mexico. While the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) regulates the transportation of natural gas on the interstate pipelines, and authorizes rates for that service, the California Public Utilities Commission may participate in FERC regulatory proceedings to represent the interests of California natural gas consumers. 041b061a72