NATURAL GAS

WHAT IS IT ?
Naturally occurring mixture of gaseous saturated hydrocarbons, consisting of 80-95% methane (CH4), lesser amounts of propane, ethane and butane, and small quantities of non-hydrocarbon gases (e.g., nitrogen, helium). Natural gas is found in sandstone, limestone, and other porous rocks beneath the earthís surface, often in association with crude oil. Because of its high heating value and clean-burning characteristics, natural gas is widely used as a fuel. The heavier hydrocarbons in natural gas can be extracted, through compression or absorption processes, to yield LPG (propane or butane), natural gasoline, and raw materials for petrochemical manufacture.

In its natural state you canít see or smell natural gas. It is colorless, odorless and lighter than air. Mercaptan, a chemical odorant, is added to natural gas so it can be smelled if it leaks.

HOW IS IT SHIPPED ?

Not usually shipped by rail, usually transported in pipelines.

WHAT IS IT USED FOR ?

Industry consumes about 43 percent of the natural gas used in the United States every year, making it the largest consumer of natural gas. The residential sector consumes about 27 percent; the commercial (business) sector, 16 percent; and 14 percent is used to generate electricity.

SANDSTONE

WHAT IS IT ?
sedimentary rock usually consisting of grains of quartz cemented by lime, silica, iron oxide, or other materials. Petroleum deposits are commonly found in sandstone formations.

LIMESTONE

WHAT IS IT ?
porous, sedimentary rock composed chiefly of calcium carbonate; sometimes serves as a reservoir rock for petroleum
© S.A. MCCALL