If you’ve been thinking about switching your current gas provider, it may be beneficial to move your home or commercial operation over to natural gas. Natural gas is the cleanest burning fossil fuel available, and making the switch can save you a good amount of money down the line. Before we get into the benefits of using natural gas, it’s important to know where this unique gas is derived from.
Natural Gas: What Is It & Where Does It Come From?
Natural gas occurs deep beneath the earth’s surface and consists mainly of methane, a compound that is composed of one carbon atom and four hydrogen atoms. Natural gas can also contain tiny amounts of hydrocarbon gas liquids and non-hydrocarbon gases. Today, people all over the world are using natural gas as fuel to make materials and chemicals.
How Does Natural Gas Form?
Millions of years ago, the remains of plants and animals decayed and built up in thick layers of the earth, sometimes mixing with sand and silt. Over the course of time, these layers were buried underground. As a result, pressure and heat changes turned some of this organic material into coal, some into oil (petroleum), and the rest into natural gas. In some places, the natural gas moved into large cracks and spaces between layers of the overlying rock. In other areas, natural gas moved to tiny pores with the formations of shale, sandstone, and other kinds of sedimentary rock. In these spaces, the natural gas is referred to as shale gas or tight gas.
How Do We Get Natural Gas?
The search for natural gas begins with a geologist, or someone who studies the structure and processes of the earth. These specialists locate the different types of rocks that are likely to contain natural gas deposits. While some of these areas may be on land, others are offshore and deep under the ocean floor. These days, geologists use a seismic survey to locate the best places to drill wells. When a particular site seems promising, an exploratory well is drilled and tested. Once a rock formation has proven to be economic for production, one or more development wells will be drilled into the formation, allowing natural gas to travel up to the wells surface.
In the United States, most of our natural gas is produced directly from shale and other kinds of rock formations. When the natural rock formation is fractured by forcing water, chemicals, and sand, it will release natural gas to the surface. The type of natural gas that is withdrawn from a well is called wet natural gas, primarily because it contains liquid hydrocarbons and non-hydrocarbon gases. When methane and other gases are separated from the wet natural gas at a processing plant, it is called dry or consumer-grade natural gas. This type of gas is sent through pipelines to underground storage fields as well as to distribution companies.
The Benefits of Natural Gas
There are many benefits to utilizing natural gas in your home and business. As we mentioned above, a major perk of natural gas is that it is the cleanest burning fossil fuel available. Let’s look at some more benefits of natural gas below!
- As one of the world’s safest sources of energy, natural gas can be used to heat your home or business.
- Since natural gas burns in a clean and efficient manner, it doesn’t leave behind any unpleasant soot, ash, or odors.
- By switching over to natural gas, the need for an underground storage tank is eliminated. This consequently eliminates the threat of oil spills, soil contamination, and even expensive environmental cleanup.
- Natural gas is non-toxic, which means if you accidentally inhale it, it’s not poisonous or harmful to your health.
- Natural gas can do much more than just heat your home. It can be used for water heating, drying clothes, cooking, and even lighting your fireplace. You can also utilize natural gas outdoors for barbecuing, gas lighting, and to heat your hot tub or swimming pool.
As you can see, there are many reasons to make the switch to natural gas. Whether you want to reduce your carbon footprint or save money on your heating bills, natural gas is the way to go. If you’re interested in learning more about natural gas, contact the professionals at Enertech Energy Management Solutions today!