Oil’s Stepchild: The Natural Gas Industry in Appalachia: A History from the First Discovery to the Maturity of the Industry
David A. Waples
Approximate Time: 20-30 minutes
This highly visual presentation depicts the little-known, nearly untold history of the natural gas industry, which evolved in the shadow of its more prominent sister, petroleum. This presentation explores the evolution and significance of the natural gas industry. From the first natural gas discoveries in the 1800s, the ways in which entrepreneurs used the fuel, the consequent displacement of the manufactured gas industry, and the expansion of the Appalachian natural gas network into major regional markets. Highlighting the growth of the Appalachian drilling industry, the first wooden and metal pipelines, the development of gas compressor engines, the pioneering of gas storage fields, and the genesis of gas marketing for lighting, heating, cooking, and industrial use. The presentation goes on to describe the growth of the Appalachian natural gas industry since its major source of supply shifted from local wells in the 1950s to new discoveries of natural gas in the southwestern United States and the Gulf of Mexico concluding with the impact of gas shortages and government regulation that affects the industry to the present day.
David A. Waples is the author of "The Natural Gas Industry in Appalachia: A History from the First Discovery to the Maturity of the Industry." Waples is a corporate communications manager for a natural gas utility. He also teaches speech communications at Penn State University-The Behrend College. He lives in Fairview, Pennsylvania.