What is 'MCF - Thousand Cubic Feet'

MCF is an abbreviation derived from the Roman numeral 'M' for a thousand, put together with cubic feet (CF) to measure a quantity of natural gas. A natural gas well that produces 400 MCF of gas per day operates with a daily production rate of 400,000. In terms of energy output, a thousand cubic feet (MCF) of gas is equal to approximately 1,000,000 BTU (British Thermal Units). One BTU is the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit at sea level (roughly equivalent to a kitchen match). Many people think the M represents the English word for million, but one million cubic feet of gas is instead denoted as MMCF, where the two Ms mean "a thousand thousand" or 1,000,000, with each M representing three zeros.

BREAKING DOWN 'MCF - Thousand Cubic Feet'

MCF is the conventional way to measure natural gas in the United States, which uses the imperial measuring system. In Europe, where the metric system is used, the abbreviation most commonly used is thousand of cubic meters or MCM. Oil and gas financial analysts need to be especially careful when analyzing companies' quarterly results to avoid mixing up various units. For example, it is quite easy to overlook the fact that U.S. companies will report in MCF, while European companies often report in MCM. This makes quite a difference because 1 MCM = 35.3 MCF. To help analysts deal with these reporting differences, some companies provide analysts with an approximate conversion factor guide. In these guides there are typically six specific conversion factors for natural gas (cubic meters, cubic feet, tons of oil equivalent, tons of liquefied natural gas, BTU and barrels of oil equivalent).

​Most of the major international oil and gas companies provide standardized reports to help analysts and investors accurately assess these figures. This is partly a regulatory requirement, with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) stipulating that foreign companies with stock listed on U.S. exchanges file standardized reports on an annual basis, called a 20-F. This is equivalent to the 10-K filing for U.S. companies and provides investors with oil and gas production and reserve statistics published with imperial measurements to allow like-for-like comparison. Investors in the emerging markets of Russia, Africa or Latin America often receive reports with data represented in the metric system, which is a global measurement system. Analysts of these companies will need to use conversion tables to accurately quantify and compare them to more sophisticated international operators.

  1. Trillion Cubic Feet - Tcf

    Trillion cubic feet is a volume measurement of natural gas used ...
  2. Billions Of Cubic Feet Equivalent ...

    Billions of cubic feet equivalent is a natural gas term used ...
  3. Barrel Of Oil Equivalent (BOE)

    A barrel of oil equivalent (BOE) is a term used to summarize ...
  4. Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)

    Liquefied natural gas (LNG) consists mostly of methane and is ...
  5. United States Natural Gas Fund ...

    The United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) is an exchange-traded ...
  6. Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF)

    The Gas Exporting Countries Forum is an organization of the world's ...
Related Articles
  1. Insights

    Most Profitable Natural Gas Companies of 2016 (XOM, RDS-A)

    The five most profitable natural gas companies are diverse energy producers whose businesses have struggled thanks to falling commodity prices.
  2. Investing

    Hedge Funds Look Bearish on Natural Gas

    A sharp rise in natural gas stock prices at the start of the summer season may be responsible for the hedge fund snub.
  3. Investing

    The UNG Natural Gas ETF: Best Bet or Stay Clear?

    UNG is a popular natural gas ETF, but if you're going to get involved, then you need to know the risks.
  4. Investing

    Fracking Can't Happen Without These Companies

    With all the attention paid to fracking, what is are the good investment opportunities? Are the companies that extract oil and natural gas a good bet?
  5. Investing

    Top 3 Natural Gas ETFs for 2018

    The three most actively traded natural gas ETFs for 2018.
  6. Investing

    A Look Inside The Natural Gas Pipeline

    The United States is the Saudi Arabia of natural gas, but natural gas stocks were a mixed bag last year.
  7. Investing

    The 5 Biggest Chinese Natural Gas Companies (SHI, PTR)

    Read about the top five Chinese natural gas companies as measured by gas production volume and learn a little more about their business operations.
  8. Investing

    5 Reasons Why Private Equity Investors Like Oil and Gas Companies

    Oil and gas companies may look like a risky industry on the outside, but private equity investors have found reasons to regularly invest in these firms.
  9. Investing

    How To Ride The Natural Gas Boom

    Natural gas has reigned as king of the energy markets for almost a year and a half, its price rising over 48% – widely outpacing West Texas intermediate crude oil (8.60%), heating oil (-3.95%) ...
  10. Investing

    Natural Gas ETFs Poised to Extend Losses

    After falling 23 percent from the start of 2017, things may be getting worse for UNG.
  1. What percentage of the global economy consists of the oil and gas drilling sector?

    The oil and gas exploration and production sector currently makes up something between 2% and 3% of the global economy. Read Answer >>
  2. What are average operating expenses for the oil and gas sector?

    Learn about the average operating expenses and average operating expenses margin for the oil and gas sector and how they ... Read Answer >>
  3. How is NAV used for oil, gas, and energy investments?

    Find out how net asset value, or NAV, can be useful for evaluating mutual funds with oil, gas and energy investments or valuing ... Read Answer >>
  4. How does the price of oil affect Russia's economy?

    Discover how the price of oil affects the Russian economy. As a net exporter of oil, Russia depends on robust oil prices ... Read Answer >>
  5. What country is the world's largest oil producer?

    The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is often cited as the world's largest oil producer. The country produces 13.24% of the oil consumed ... Read Answer >>
Trading Center