1. Natural Gas
Natural gas is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas used to produce electricity, steel, glass,paper, clothing, and a variety of other products.
In the United States (US), more than half of thehomes use natural gas as their main heating fuel. The major consumers of natural gas in the USin 2009 included
Electric power sector at 6.9 trillion cubic feet
(Tcf) or 30% of US consumption
Industrial sector at 6.1 Tcf or 27% of US consumption
Residential sector at 4.8 Tcf or 21% of US consumption
Commercial sector at 3.1 Tcf or 14% of US consumptionThe remaining US consumers of natural gas in 2009 included oil and gas industry operations,vehicle fuel, and pipeline fuel.
The process of finding, developing, and preparing natural gas for consumption is quite extensiveand complex. Seismic surveys use echoes to determine the location of natural gas on land andoff-shore. Once an area has been deemed promising from a geological perspective, the drillingprocess begins. As natural gas is found within the deposits of rock formations through thedrilling process, it is transported by pipelines to the ultimate consumer (Figure 1).Transporting natural gas and making it viable for consumers involves many steps. Raw naturalgas is gathered in low pressure pipelines and moved from the wellhead to a processing plant orthe interconnection with a larger mainline pipeline. Natural gas liquids and impurities, such asliquid hydrocarbons and non-hydrocarbon gases, are separated from the natural gas stream nearthe site of the well or at processing plants. Natural gas is then transported from the producingarea to market areas through wide-diameter, high-pressure interstate and intrastate pipelines.Compressor stations are strategically located throughout the transmission pipeline system to keepthe natural gas flowing forward. In low demand times during the year, natural gas is stored infacilities created from depleted oil, natural gas, or aquifer reservoirs or salt caverns. Whendemand for natural gas increases, such as in the winter months, stored natural gas is delivered
Natural gas consists of hydrocarbon gases including methane, ethane, propane, butane, carbon dioxide, oxygen,nitrogen, hydrogen sulphide and rare gases.
Modern Shale Gas Development in the United States: A Primer.
(2009) U S Department of Energy, Officeof Fossil Energy, National Energy Technology Laboratory
A trillion cubic feet (Tcf) is one billion Mcf (1,000 cubic feet) and is enough natural gas to heat 15 million homesfor one year, generate 100 billion kilowatt hours of electricity or fuel 12 million natural gas-fired vehicles for oneyear.