Natural gas, often coined as one of the cleanest, safest, and most useful of all energy sources, is a colourless, shapeless, and odourless gas in its pure form. Natural gas utilized in homes for heating (among other purposes), is almost purely methane (one carbon and four hydrogen atoms, CH4), referred to as “dry” natural gas. When other hydrocarbons are present, e.g., Propane, ethane, butane, etc., the term “wet” natural gas is applicable.
Natural gas is abundant in North America and can be found in reservoirs, often associated with oil deposits. Production companies use sophisticated technologies to drill wells and extract resources. Natural gas once extracted, is refined, which removes water, sand, and other gases and compounds from the mix. Other hydrocarbons, e.g., Propane and butane as well as other impurities, e.g., Hydrogen sulfide which produces sulfur, are removed during this step and often sold separately. The end product is deemed “clean natural gas” which then enters pipelines to be taken to individual households and facilities.
Natural gas is typically measured in gigajoules (GJ), British Thermal Units (Btu), cubic feet, or cubic meters.