Natural gas is increasing in popularity as an alternative fuel source. While it is still considered a fossil fuel, it’s much cleaner than other fossil fuels, such as coal and oil. Around the world, we’re seeing countries increase their usage of natural gas, for a variety of reasons. Whether out of concern for the environment, for cost reasons, or to reduce dependence on foreign fuel, many countries are looking into using natural gas to heat homes and offices, fuel vehicles, or as a general energy source. You likely know what natural gas is and that it’s being used for energy,  but you may not know many more details than that. Read on and increase your natural gas knowledge. 

How was it formed?

Natural gas is found below the earth’s surface and was formed hundreds of millions years ago. It takes a long time for natural gas to form, but luckily there’s a lot of it. It formed from the remains of plants and animals that were layered under sand, rock, and other particles. As pressure and heat built, these debris were turned into natural gas. In much the same way, coal and oil are formed.

What are the benefits?

A reason so many companies and countries are looking to increasing the production and usage of natural gas is due to the many benefits. Natural gas, compared to burning coal, oil, or gasoline, can significantly reduce emissions into the environment. As more research shows the importance of reducing pollutants in the environment, it’s vitally important that we find ways to utilize energies, such as natural gas, that help reduce pollution. Another benefit is the cost. Natural gas, especially when produced in the country that will be using it, is much more affordable than importing oil. 

How can it be used?

Natural gas can be used for a variety of reasons. In residential homes, natural gas can be a heating source, used to fuel a stove, or fuel other appliances, such as a water heater. Buildings used for business purposes can use natural gas for heating, lighting, and larger scale cooking. Natural gas can also be used to generate electricity or fuel a vehicle. As time goes on, it’ll become easier to find ways to utilize natural gas.

Where is it?

Unlike oil, natural gas can be found in more areas and is easier to access. However, there are some reserves that are considered stranded because they’re in areas of the world that are worried about contaminating sources of water and thus cannot be accessed. Overall, natural gas is often found in spaces between different rock spaces. It can also be found in spaces in some sedimentary rock formations. Sometimes, natural gas can even be found together with crude oil.