Natural gas industry participants generally fall into four major categories: producers, transmission companies, local distribution companies ("LDC"), and suppliers. Suppliers are commonly referred to as gas marketers or gas brokers. Producers are natural gas production companies that explore and develop natural gas reserves. Transmission companies transport the gas from the production and storage fields to various delivery points across the United States through a network of high-volume and high-pressure pipelines.
LDCs own and operate pipeline systems that are connected to transmission pipelines, to take delivery of gas from transmission pipelines for redelivery to end-users, which include residential, commercial, and industrial consumers. Gas marketers or brokers act as intermediaries between gas buyers, such as end-users, and all the other above-mentioned segments of the industry. Sometimes gas marketers or brokers coordinate the sale and delivery of natural gas from the wellhead to end-users' facilities, including the ancillary delivery services, such as the nominating and scheduling, necessary to deliver gas to the end-user.