There are several terms that are unique to the natural gas industry. To make things simple, we’ve spelled out some of the industry’s most common terms below. 

biogas – a mixture of gases produced by the decomposition of organic matter like agricultural waste and plant material

Btu – British thermal units; the quantity of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit

Ccf – volume of 100 cubic feet; a unit used to measure natural gas usage

CNG – compressed natural gas; is a type of alternative fuel produced by compressing natural gas to less than 1% of its volume at standard atmospheric pressure that can be used in place of gasoline, diesel fuel and propane; mainly used in this form as a means of transport or storage

energy deregulation – takes place when a monopoly on energy is removed and increased competition between natural gas suppliers lets consumers choose the one that fits their needs at a lower cost

fixed rate plan – a rate that stays the same during a specific contract period

fracking – the process of drilling into the earth and using a high-pressure water mixture to release natural gas from rocks for energy use 

hydrofracking hydraulic fracturing; see “fracking”

LNG – liquid natural gas; natural gas that has been cooled to a liquid state mainly for transport or storage

Mcf – volume of 1,000 cubic feet; a measure natural gas usage 

natural gas – a clean, alternative fuel source used for generating electricity and heat

PUC – Public utility commission; a state-level government entity involved with rates and services provided by utility companies

shalesedimentary rock that forms when silt and clay-size mineral particles are compacted and broken into thin, parallel layers 

SNG – synthetic natural gas; a type of gas created from coal through thermo-chemical conversion and can be used as a substitute in regions where there may be a shortage of natural gas

syngas – see “SNG”

therm – a unit of heat equal to 100,000 Btu (British thermal units) 

variable rate plan – a rate that fluctuates with the market during a specified contract period