What is natural gas, what is it used for, and what are the benefits?

In the United States, more than 31 million cubic feet of dry natural gas was consumed in 2019 in residential, commercial, industrial, and electric power settings. With such high use, it’s important to understand natural gas.

For those looking for additional understanding, we explain the facts you need to know in this beginner’s guide to natural gas.

Read on to learn more.

Understanding Natural Gas

Natural gas is a fossil fuel. This natural energy source is formed deep under the earth’s surface. It contains several different gaseous components such as:

  • Methane
  • Natural gas liquids
  • Ethane
  • Paraffins
  • Nonhydrocarbon gases
  • Propane
  • Butane
  • Pentane
  • Hexane

In order to be used for commercial and heating purposes, these natural gas liquids mentioned above must be processed in gas processing plants or field separators.

Natural gas was originally formed several millions of years ago over extensive time from the remnants of animals and plants. As layers of silt, rock, and sand-covered these remains, heat and pressure changes created natural gas.

Natural gas deposits can be found all across the globe in three primary locations:

  • On land
  • Offshore
  • Deep under the ocean floor

For more information on natural gas, read on here.

How Do We Obtain Natural Gas?

In order to obtain natural gas, geologists study the processes of the earth as well as its structure. They use scientific location methods such as seismic surveys on water and land to scan the earth.

Scientists then drill both vertically and horizontally in the correct places for natural gas. The natural gas then traditionally is stimulated up to the surface.

In unnatural settings, water, chemicals, and sand may be forced into the ground to coerce the natural gas to the surface in a process known as fracking or fracturing.

Whatever method, the natural gas is then sent through a collection of pipelines to a central natural gas processing plant or plants.

What Is Natural Gas Used For?

Natural gas contains crude oil wells that have:

  • Ethane
  • Pentane
  • Propane
  • Water Vapor

These separated wet natural gases are then sold to consumers. Natural gas is then used in homes, commercial, and transportation to fuel heating, cooking, and electricity generation.

The industrial sector uses natural gases to produce things such as fertilizer, chemicals, and hydrogen. In the United States, the five largest natural gas consumers were:

  1. Texas
  2. California
  3. Louisiana
  4. Pennsylvania
  5. Florida

Natural gas is a non-renewable energy source that is not replenished at a high enough rate it is currently being used. We can expect natural gas to run out in the next few lifetimes.

What Is Natural Gas?

It can be challenging to understand precisely what is natural gas and how it is used in your daily life. Be sure to consult this beginner’s guide for all the starter information you need to know.

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