What is Natural Gas?

Posted on Nov 24, 2015 by [email protected]

What is Natural Gas?

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Natural gas is a nonrenewable resource formed millions of years ago by organic matter, such as plant and animal remains. Over time the organic material is compressed and pushed deeper beneath the earth’s surface with intense pressure. The temperature increases as the matter is pushed closer to the earth’s crust. The combination of pressure and high temperature created natural gas, oil and coal. Once formed, it begins rising toward the surface due to its low density. Impermeable rocks prevent large amounts of natural gas from surfacing, creating a reservoir [1].

Natural gas is odorless, shapeless and colorless in its native state. Mercaptan, a chemical with a rotten egg smell, is added to detect any leaks [2]. Natural gas is comprised of a combustible mixture of hydrocarbons, being organic compounds of hydrogen and carbon.  Roughly 70-90% of natural gas is methane, while 0-20% consists of ethane, propane and butane, and other heavier hydrocarbons [2]. Natural gas being almost pure methane is ideal and considered ‘dry,’ while when heavier hydrocarbons are present natural gas is considered ‘wet.’ Natural gas is measured in thousands of cubic feet (Mcf), with MMcf and Tcf being millions and trillions of cubic feet respectively. Natural gas can also measure energy using British thermal units (Btu), with one cubic foot of natural gas equaling 1,027 Btus [2].

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Natural gas is a common energy source that has clean burning with low emissions, unlike fellow fossil fuels, coal, and oil. In 2011, natural gas was 25% of the energy expended in the United States. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates the consumption of natural gas will increase by 11% by 2030, due to its efficiency, cleanliness and reliability [3]. Major consumers include the electrical power, industrial, residential, commercial, oil and gas, and pipeline sectors [1]. The state of Texas is the highest consumer and producer in the United States [4]. Recent advances in technology have led to the highest increase in proved natural reserves recorded, having an 11.9% increase from 2009-2010 in wet natural gas [5]. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates 2,543 Tcf of recoverable natural gas remain in the United States [2]. Croft Production Systems, Inc offers a variety of systems in the production and operations sector to assist you in advance with the growing demand for natural gas. CROFTproducts ensure you meet pipeline requirements while maintaining equipment and increasing performance.


  1. 2012, “Natural Gas Explained,” U.S. Energy Information Administration.http://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/index.cfm?page=natural_gas_factors_affecting_prices
  2. 2011, “Background,” NaturalGas.org.http://naturalgas.org/overview/background/
  3. “About Natural Gas,” American Gas Association.http://www.aga.org/Kc/aboutnaturalgas/Pages/default.aspx
  4. 2013, “Frequently Asked Questions,” U.S. Energy Information Administration.http://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.cfm?id=46&t=8
  5. 2012, “U.S. Crude Oil, Natural Gas, and NG Liquids Proved Reserves,” U.S. Energy Information Administration.http://www.eia.gov/naturalgas/crudeoilreserves/index.cfm
  6. 2009, “Natural Gas,” Green Motion.http://greenmotion.org/natural_gas.html
  7. 2013, “What is Natural Gas?,” Alberta Energy.http://www.energy.alberta.ca/NaturalGas/723.asp
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