Student reading book

Natural Gas History

The Chinese discovered natural gas in 600 BC, but it wasn't
until the 1950s
that natural gas pipelines were built for
widespread use of natural gas in the United States.
Here's what happened in between.





Chinese statue

Discovery of Gas (600 BC)

The ancient Chinese were the first to discover underground deposits of natural gas. In 600 BC, Confucius wrote of wells 100 feet deep yielding water and natural gas along the Tibetan border. The Chinese piped the gas to where it was needed through long, hollow bamboo tubes.

First Use of Natural Gas in the Home (100 AD)

The first recorded use of natural gas in the home was in Persia (now Iran) around the first century AD. Natural gas seeped out of the ground and was ignited by lightning, producing a hot flame that burned continuously, day and night. The King of Persia decided to take advantage of this "eternal flame." But instead of having the gas piped to his home—like we do today—he built his royal kitchen near the flame.