• Written By Akanksha P John

# Natural Gas: Types, Occurrence, Properties and Uses

Natural gas is a fossil fuel created deep beneath the earth’s surface. Natural gas is made up of a variety of chemicals. Methane, a molecule having one carbon atom and four hydrogen atoms, is the most abundant component of natural gas (CH4).

This article will study one such fuel- Natural gas that is non-toxic, pollution-free, and one of the major energy resources.

## Natural Gas

Natural gas, like coal and petroleum, is a fossil fuel. Its purest form is a colourless and odourless gas and is made of many gases, of which methane is the most prominent. It is an important source of energy because it is a relatively clean-burning fossil fuel. On burning, it releases only half the carbon dioxide produced by coal to generate the same amount of energy.

### Composition of Natural Gas

Natural gas mainly consists of methane $$\left({{\text{C}}{{\text{H}}_4}} \right).$$ It also contains ethane, butane and propane and a small amount of nitrogen, carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulphide and water in trace amounts.

This combination of gases can be categorized into-

#### Hydrocarbon Content

Hydrocarbon components make up the majority of the main natural gas compositions. Under normal atmospheric conditions, these components are mostly found in gaseous form. Ethane, methane, propane, and butane are the hydrocarbon components. They are gaseous due to the high pressure seen at elevations where natural gas is prevalent.

#### Non-Hydrocarbon Content

The noble gases helium and argon are the most common. Natural gas also contains nitrogen, hydrogen, and carbon dioxide, among other things.

### Formation of Natural Gas

Plant and animal remain (such as diatoms) accumulated in thick layers on the earth’s surface and ocean floors millions to hundreds of millions of years ago, occasionally combined with sand, silt, and calcium carbonate, over extended periods of time. These layers were buried by sand, silt, and rock over time. Some of this carbon and hydrogen-rich material was converted to coal, some into oil and some into natural gas by pressure and heat.

### Occurrence of Natural Gas

In India, natural gas reserves are found in Tripura, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Krishna, and Godavari delta.

Natural gas moved into enormous fractures and crevices between layers of overlying rock in some places. The gas found in these types of formations is sometimes called conventional natural gas. Natural gas can also be found in the microscopic pores (spaces) within certain shale, sandstone, and other sedimentary rock formations. This type of natural gas is known as shale gas or tight gas, and it’s also known as unconventional natural gas.

Natural gas is also found in conjunction with crude oil reserves, and this gas is referred to as related natural gas. Natural gas resources can be found on land, offshore, and even deep beneath the ocean floor. Coalbed methane is a form of gas found in coal beds.

Thus, it is found with crude petroleum in petroleum wells or with other hydrocarbon reservoirs in coal beds as methane clathrates.

### Extraction of Natural Gas

The first step in the extraction of natural gas is the survey that indicates whether the site has the potential for producing natural gas. For this, an exploratory well is drilled and tested. The test’s results provide information on the quality and quantity of natural gas in the resource.

It can be obtained by drilling the wells where the production of oil is found. Natural gas wells can be drilled into natural gas-bearing rocks both vertically and horizontally. Natural gas travels freely up through wells to the surface in traditional natural gas deposits.

### Burning of Natural Gas

Natural gas is a highly efficient, clean, and safe energy source. Natural gas produces a lot of energy and, unlike other fossil fuels, leaves no ash when it burns. Because methane burns completely, it produces very little pollution.

It is one of the cleanest burning fuels, producing primarily heat, carbon dioxide, and water vapour. Thus, it contributes to a cleaner and greener environment.

### Detection

Natural gas is odourless. A harmless but pungent odorant named t-butyl mercaptan that smells like rotten eggs is added to it as a safety measure to detect gas leaks. It can be smelled even if there is only a minor leak.

### Properties of Natural Gas

1. It does not have any colour.
2. It does not have any taste.
3. It’s a non-toxic gas.
4. It is a combustible gas.
5. It is a mixture of hydrocarbon compounds.
6. The by-products of combustion of it are carbon dioxide and water vapour only.
7. It is lighter than air.
8. It has a high ignition temperature and a low flammability range.

### Uses of Natural Gas

Natural gas is used for the following purposes

• i. For cooking
• ii. To power the central heating and air conditioning systems, as well as the clothes dryers.
• iii. For the generation of energy using gas turbines and steam turbines.
• iv. Fabrics, glass, metals, plastics, paint, and other items are manufactured using natural gas.
• v. It is used as a source of hydrogen, used in the fertiliser industry.
• vi. It is used as a component of aviation fuels.

#### Compressed Natural Gas (CNG)

Natural gas is compressed to high pressure and stored in hard containers for distribution that is cylindrical or spherical. The gas is then referred to as compressed natural gas or CNG.

CNG is also provided to homes and businesses via pipelines. In India, a network of pipelines to distribute natural gas exists in Vadodara in Gujrat and Delhi. CNG is now becoming very popular as an eco-friendly or green fuel in other cities also. It is an excellent fuel for transport vehicles from light-duty trucks, auto rickshaws and taxi cabs, in delivery vans and heavy-duty vehicles like buses.

### Summary

In this article, We studied natural gas, a fossil fuel that is one of the cleanest fuels, in-depth in this post. We discovered that methane is the most abundant hydrocarbon in natural gas, with other hydrocarbon contents such as as-ethane, propane, and others, as well as non-hydrocarbon contents such as noble gases. We now understand the many applications of natural gas, one of the most essential of which is compressed natural gas (CNG). Natural gas can be extracted by constructing wells.

### FAQs

Q.1. What is natural gas?
Ans:
Natural gas is another fossil fuel, like coal and petroleum. It is a colourless and odourless gas in its pure form and is made of many gases, of which methane is the most prominent. It is an important source of energy because it is a relatively clean-burning fossil fuel. On burning, it releases only half the carbon dioxide produced by coal to generate the same amount of energy.

Q.2. How is natural gas formed?
Ans:
Plant and animal remains (such as diatoms) accumulated in thick layers on the earth’s surface and ocean floors millions to hundreds of millions of years ago, occasionally combined with sand, silt, and calcium carbonate, over extended periods of time. These layers were buried by sand, silt, and rock over time. Some of this carbon and hydrogen-rich material was converted to coal, some into oil and some into natural gas by pressure and heat.

Q.3.What is the main constituent of natural gas?
Ans:
The main constituent of natural gas is methane $$\left({{\text{C}}{{\text{H}}_4}} \right).$$ It also contains ethane, butane and propane and a small amount of nitrogen, carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulphide and water in trace amounts.

Q.4. Where is natural gas found in India?
Ans:
In India, natural gas reserves are found in Tripura, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Krishna, and Godavari delta.

Q.5. How do petroleum and natural gas occur in nature?
Ans:
Petrol and natural gas are made up of the remains of plants and animals that have been buried deep inside the earth’s crust. They’re also referred to as fossil fuels.

We hope this detailed article on natural gas will be helpful to you. If you have any questions related to the article or, in general, about natural gas, please let us know through the comments section, and we will get back to you at the earliest.

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