Abstract: The Origins of a Corporate Giant: Tennessee Gas and Transmission's Wartime Pipeline

David Raley


By late 1943, demand for natural gas in the heavily industrialized northern Appalachian region of the United States was outstripping supply. With local gas fields in deep decline, industries, entrepreneurs, and the federal government looked outside the region for new supplies to keep the defense plants in operation. Formed to meet these demands for gas, Tennessee Gas and Transmission (later Tenneco) rushed to build its 1,265-mile pipeline to connect Texas gas fields with the factories, plants, and homes of Appalachia. Facing labor shortages, unusually severe weather, lack of equipment, and regulatory hurdles, Tennessee struggled to finish the pipeline by the winter of 1944. The completion of the pipeline on schedule and within budget marks a noteworthy beginning for a company that would pioneer the conglomeration movement following World War II.

BEH On-Line Paper