natural gas, colourless, highly flammable gaseous hydrocarbon consisting primarily of methane and ethane.

It is a type of petroleum that commonly occurs in association with crude oil. Natural gas is often found dissolved in oil at the high pressures existing in a reservoir, and it can be present as a gas cap above the oil. Such natural gas is known as associated gas. There are also reservoirs that contain gas and no oil. This gas is termed nonassociated gas. Associated gas usually contains some light liquids and hence is sometimes called wet gas. Nonassociated gas, coming from reservoirs that are not connected with any known source of liquid petroleum, is dry gas. Properties of natural gas Chemical composition Hydrocarbon content Natural gas is a hydrocarbon mixture consisting primarily of methane and ethane, both of which are gaseous under atmospheric conditions. The mixture also may contain other hydrocarbons, such as propane, butane, pentane, and hexane. In natural gas reservoirs even the heavier hydrocarbons occur for the most part in gaseous form because of the higher pressures. They liquefy at the surface (at atmospheric pressure) and are referred to as natural gas liquids, gas condensate, natural gasoline, or liquefied petroleum gas. They may separate in some reservoirs through retrograde condensation or may be separated at the surface either in field separators or in gas processing plants by means of condensation, absorption, adsorption, or other modification. The average production of natural gas liquids in the United States is nearly 38 barrels per 1 million cubic feet of produced gas. Nonhydrocarbon content Other gases that commonly occur in association with the hydrocarbon gases are nitrogen, carbon dioxide, hydrogen, hydrogen sulfide, and such noble gases as helium and argon. Because natural gas and formation water occur together in the reservoir, gas recovered from a well contains water vapour, which is partially condensed during transmission to the processing plant. Physical properties The physical properties of natural gas include colour, odour, and flammability. The principal ingredient of gas is methane, which is colourless, odourless, and highly flammable. However, some of the associated gases in natural gas, especially hydrogen sulfide, have a distinct and penetrating odour, and a few parts per million is sufficient to impart a decided odour to natural gas. Measurement systems The amounts of gas accumulated in a reservoir, as well as produced from wells, are calculated in cubic metres at a pressure of 750 mm of mercury and a temperature of 15 °C (or in cubic feet at an absolute pressure of 14.73 pounds per square inch and a temperature of 60 °F). Since gas is compressed at high reservoir pressures, it expands upon reaching the surface and thus occupies more space. As its quantity

The thermal stage In the postmature stage. The original source of the Earth s carbon was the cosmic debris from which the planet formed.000 metres (2. and the main hydrocarbon product is thermal methane gas. The biological stage During the immature. such as are found in the carbonaceous chondrite type of meteorites. however. The thermal gas is the product of the cracking of the existing liquid hydrocarbons. . Continuous outgassing of these hydrocarbons may be taking place from within the Earth. Inorganic formation Some methane may have been produced by inorganic processes. and some may have accumulated as abiogenic gas deposits without having passed through an organic phase. includes the full range of hydrocarbons that are produced within the oil window.000 feet). and marine environments beneath the zone of active sulfate reduction. however. Thus. Gas of predominantly biogenic origin is thought to constitute more than 20 percent of the world s gas reserves.500 to 16. Many of the source rocks for significant gas deposits appear to be associated with the worldwide occurrence of coal dated to Carboniferous and Early Permian times (roughly 360 million to 271 million years ago). the carbon could have been supplied in comparatively high concentrations as hydrocarbons. It is derived from both land plants and aquatic organic matter and is generated above. stage of petroleum formation. Thus. primarily wet gas (gas containing liquid hydrocarbons) is formed. The mature stage of petroleum generation. Origin of natural gas Organic formation process Natural gas is more ubiquitous than oil. which occurs at depths of about 750 to 5. biogenic gas generation is confined to certain environments that include poorly drained swamps and calculated in reference to standard conditions of temperature and pressure. comparatively little oil is found below 5. biogenic methane (often called marsh gas) is produced as a result of the decomposition of organic material by the action of anaerobic microbes.900 metres. below about 5. have the potential for deep gas production. The deep basins with thick sequences of sedimentary rocks.000 metres (16. Consequently. in the sedimentary basins of the world. and below the oil window. Those hydrocarbons with a larger chemical structure than that of methane are destroyed much more rapidly than they are formed. some lake bottoms. oil is no longer stable. all source rocks have the potential for gas generation.000 metres. In the event of widespread outgassing. If meteorites are representative of this debris.000 feet). Often significant amounts of thermal methane gas are generated along with the oil. or biological. Below 2. the expansion does not constitute an increase in the amount of gas produced. throughout. These microorganisms cannot tolerate even traces of oxygen and are also inhibited by high concentrations of dissolved sulfate.

Inc. In most sedimentary basins the vertical potential (and sediment volume) available for gas generation exceeds that of oil. natural gas migrates and accumulates in traps. if the pressure declines. and argon derives from potassium. some of the gas will be lost to production by being trapped by capillarity behind the advancing water front. Gas displays initial low concentration and high dispersibility. Significant accumulations of inorganic methane have yet to be found. in practice. [Credit: Encyclopædia Britannica. in all likelihood. only about 80 percent of the in-place gas can be recovered.however. In a natural gas (single-phase) reservoir it should be possible to recover nearly all of the inplace gas by dropping the pressure sufficiently. Conventional gas reservoirs Gas reservoirs differ greatly. the unrelated gases simply became caught in the same trap. however. actual gas recovery can be as high as 75 to 80 percent of the . but most major gas fields are located at intermediate or deeper levels where higher temperatures and older reservoirs (often carbonates sealed by evaporites) exist. even though the recovery of gas is a more efficient process than the recovery of oil.]Like oil. The helium and some of the argon found in natural gas are products of natural radioactive disintegration. Helium derives from radioisotopes of thorium and the uranium family. there is an economic limit at which the cost of compression exceeds the value of the recovered gas. It is probably coincidental that helium and argon sometimes occur with natural gas. About a quarter of the known major gas fields are related to a shallow biogenic origin. The geologic environment Principal types of traps. with different physical variations affecting reservoir performance and recovery. Therefore. This is due to the differences in the physical and chemical properties of gas and oil. On the other hand. If the pressure is effectively maintained by the encroachment of water in the sedimentary rock formation. Natural gas can be the primary target of either deep or shallow drilling because large gas accumulations form above the oil window as a result of biogenic processes and thermal gas occurs throughout and below the oil window. it is likely that abiogenic gas would be too diffuse to be of commercial interest. making adequate cap rocks very important. Oil accumulations contain more recoverable energy than gas accumulations of similar size. Depending on formation permeability.

but wells can be stimulated by explosives or by hydraulic fracturing. in joints and fractures or absorbed into the matrix of shales (often of the Devonian Period [about 416 million to 359 million years ago]). forming conventional gas accumulations. These relatively impermeable sandstones are reservoirs for considerable amounts of gas that are mostly uneconomical to produce because of low natural flow rates. unconventional gas will continue to complement conventional gas production but will not supplant it. Production is generally at low flow rates but is long-lasting. About 1 percent of the gas produced in the United States comes from Devonian shales. Moreover. dissolved or entrained in hot geopressured formation waters. which sometimes enhances gas production.original in-place gas in the reservoir. A fractured well in a tight gas formation usually produces at a lower rate than a conventional gas well but for a longer time. recoveries are low. The factor of greatest importance in commercial production is the presence of natural fractures. Associated gas is produced along with the oil and separated at the surface. Devonian shale gas Devonian shale gas was generated from organic mud deposited during the Devonian Period.e. The production history of Devonian shale gas indicates that the recovered gas occurs in well-connected fracture porosity. coal seams that are highly fractured appear to . Since coal is relatively impermeable. The outlook for increased production of gas from tight sandstones has been enhanced by the use of massive hydraulic fracturing techniques that create large collection areas in low-permeability formations through which gas can flow to a producing well. The rest of the gas remained locked in the nonporous shale. Unconventional gas sources are much more expensive to exploit and have to be produced at much slower rates than conventional gas fields. This gas is termed unconventional gas and occurs in tight (i. Unconventional gas reservoirs Substantial amounts of gas have accumulated in geologic environments that differ from conventional petroleum traps.. Some of the gas migrated to adjacent sandstones and was trapped in them. which is the standard unit of permeability of a substance to fluid flow). Tight gas Tight gas occurs in either blanket or lenticular sandstones that have an effective permeability of less than 1 millidarcy (or 0. any methane recovered usually must flow through existing fracture systems. Therefore. Coal-bed gas Considerable quantities of methane are trapped within coal seams. In all likelihood.001 darcy. Although much of the gas that formed during the initial coalification process is lost to the atmosphere. Subsequent sedimentation and the resultant heat and pressure transformed the mud into shale and also produced natural gas from the organic matter contained therein. relatively impermeable) sandstones. and in coal seams. a significant portion remains as free gas in the joints and fractures of the coal seam and as adsorbed gas on the internal surfaces of the micropores within the coal itself.

coal-bed gas accounts for about 2 percent of total gas output. commercial. It is the cleanest. safest and most useful of all energy the best sources of coal-bed methane. The main component is methane which is a very unreactive component. a fossil fuel formed when layers of buried plants and animals are exposed to intense heat and pressure over thousand of years. industrial and utility market. In many cases the geopressured fluids also become hotter than normally pressured fluids. high flow rates of the hot geopressured fluids must be maintained from formations of high porosity and permeability. Chemical Properties of Natural Gas It is made of hydrocarbons. To produce this gas. Coal-bed gas production is common in Europe. Physical Properties of Natural Gas Natural gas is non toxic. . geologically young sedimentary basins in which the formation fluids (which usually occur in the form of a brine) bear a part of the overburden load. It is odorless. It is consumed in residential. Geopressured fluids Geopressured reservoirs exist throughout the world in deep. although the gas is frequently mixed with air. It is colorless.84 to 2. or 30 to 80 cubic feet of gas per barrel. The fluid pressures can become quite high. Does not support life and can be suffocating when displaces oxygen. sometimes almost double the normal hydrostatic gradient. Mercaptan is added to the gas to give an odor but the odorant does not affect the gas in any other manner. Natural Gas Properties Natural gas is a vital component of the world's supply of energy. because the heat flow to the surface is impeded by insulating layers of impermeable shales and clays. It is lighter than air. there is no commercial gas production known to be derived from a geopressured deposit. It contributes to a cleaner environment.159 cubic metre of brine. Because very large amounts of formation water must be produced to recover commercial quantities of the associated gas. It reduces our dependence on foreign oil imports. In the United States.24 cubic metres of natural gas per 0. Geopressured fluids have been found to be saturated with 0.

Liquefaction is a process involving cooling and condensing of natural gas that removes the non-methane components such as carbon dioxide and sulfur. it causes great hazard to life and property. Article Source: http://EzineArticles. Natural gas is odorless and before it is distributed to end-users. It is considered one of the cleanest burning fuels. Natural gas is lighter than air. Natural Gas Prices. It contains heavier gaseous hydrocarbons. Natural gas is a gaseous fossil fuel that has methane as its primary compound. oxygen. Natural Gas Production and more. clean-burning product that is efficient to transport and store. When gas is burned completely carbon dioxide and water vapor are produced. In places dominated by polluting energy sources. millions of years ago. Natural gas has certain properties that enable its use for industrial or domestic purpose.5% to 14. In a confined state within a house. It leads to the formation of an extremely pure. and butane as well as sulphur containing gases. Natural gas is the cleanest-burning fossil fuel available that leads to a cleaner environment.industrialgasplants.html About Natural Gas . producing primarily heat. Natural Gas provides detailed information on Natural Gas. Natural gas contains small quantities of nitrogen. and tends to disperse into the atmosphere. Natural gas burns to produce no harmful pollutants and is a highly reliable fuel for cooking. sulfur components and water. Ignition point : 593 degree C Relative density : 0. it burns with a clean. natural gas helps improve the quality of air and water. carbon dioxide and water vapor. carbon dioxide. it contains nonpoisonous ingredients that when inhaled gets absorbed into the blood. blue flame. like ethane propane. Natural Gas is affiliated with Current Oil Prices. which also helps in detecting any leakage.It has narrow combustion For instance. gas concentrations can reach explosive mixtures and when ignited. Natural Gas http://www. it is odorized by adding thiols.3 m/s + It has a flammability range of 4. Natural gas has a peculiar characteristic of igniting only when there is an air-and-gas mixture and the percent of natural gas is between 5 and 15 percent. Natural gas is tasteless and colorless and when mixed with the requisite volume of air and ignited. It is derived from organic material that was deposited or buried under the earth.5% It undrgoes uninhibited chain reaction. A mixture containing less than 5 percent or greater than 15 percent of natural gas would not ignite. It will ignite only when there is an air and gas mixture of between 5 and 15 percent natural gas.

Natural gas reduces our dependence on foreign-oil imports More than 90 percent of the natural gas Americans use comes from the lower 48 states. The natural gas is then . Department of Energy estimates that. The odorant is so powerful you can smell even the smallest quantity of gas in the event of a leak. at current production rates. has nearly a 60-year supply of natural gas. especially when used in place of more polluting energy sources. allowing it to continually function properly. These components are distribution.S. invisible natural gas burns with a clean. Any mixture containing less than 5 percent or greater than 15 percent natural gas will not ignite. it dissipates rapidly. virtually no harmful pollutants are produced Natural gas is one of the highest demanded products throughout the entire world. Natural gas's narrow combustion limits This helps ensure predictable. The rest comes from Canada. would settle and accumulate near the ground. gas is transmitted over long distances through piping from the wellhead to several local gas suppliers. Natural gas will only ignite when there is an air-and-gas mixture of between 5 and 15 percent natural gas. When natural gas burns. Natural gas prices are determined by four main components. safe use. for heating. as well as to power vehicles. Several other small tools and machines use natural gas as well to energize the equipment. It is one of the cleanest burning fuels. Natural gas is colorless When mixed with the proper amount of air and ignited. Natural gas contributes to a cleaner environment It is the cleanest-burning fossil fuel available. a 200-year natural gas supply exists. commodity price. After being produced.Natural gas is nontoxic Natural gas contains no toxic poisonous ingredients that can be absorbed into the blood when inhaled.S. Natural gas is used as an energy source in homes. A harmless but pungent odor is added as a safety precaution. carbon dioxide and water vapor. production and transmission. A heavier-than-air gas. Natural gas is lighter than air If natural gas escapes into the atmosphere. such as propane or gasoline fumes. Natural gas is odorless When taken from the ground. the U. natural gas is odorless. The U. blue flame. When including non-conventional supplies. It helps improve air and water quality. producing primarily heat.

Natural disasters can sometimes occur. the gas is known as a wet form. cleanest. propane. it is almost entirely pure methane. and butane. several unconventional gas sources also exist. . and escapes. . shapeless.distributed to all of the customers. landfills. because all of the hydrocarbons have been removed. causing the gas suppliers to relocate. Natural gas is be lieved to be formed within deep layers of the earth's crust. which is stuck in extremely tight underground formations. and marshes. If the hydrocarbons are present within the gas. Natural gas is a gas composed largely from methane.2 percent of oxygen. Natural gas is one of the most widely used suppliers of energy. it goes through an extensive procedure to eliminate all of the minerals from the product. These are formed from mud in shallow seas that have been known to exist over three hundred fifty million years ago. Natural gas is odourless. This form of gas is considered a dry form. Natural gas also contains trace amounts of other rare gases. It is known for being one of the safest. These gasses are formed through a process called abiogenic processing. a twenty percent combination of ethane. It is also found closely associated with fossil fuels found in coal bed that are created by methanogenic organisms. Before natural gas is used as fuel. Natural gas is combustible and gives off a large amount of energy when it is burned. Along with the most common forms of extracting gas for energy use.5 percent of each nitrogen and hydrogen sulphide. These gases are then removed with a petroleum trap that goes to the earth's crust and extracts the gas form. and most useful energy sources. When natural gas is used as an energy source within a home. with only ten percent of the gas being recoverable. The extraction of these natural gases from shale is extremely difficult. Natural gas is composed with seventy to ninety percent methane. the gas then reservoirs under pressure. found over fifteen thousand feet underground. The process includes a hole drilled through the impermeable rock layer in the earth. and . as well as tight natural gas. These organisms are found in bogs.8 percent carbon dioxide component. Natural gas is also known to exist in shale deposits. which also has a great impact on the price. and . and colourless in its pure form. leaving only methane behind to be used. Other unconventional resources are deep natural gas.