Natural gas is an economical, safe, colorless and odorless gas. For easy detection, we add a harmless chemical to give gas a distinctive odor.
Natural gas is today's environmental energy choice. Increased use of natural gas can help address several environmental concerns simultaneously, including smog, acid rain and greenhouse gas emissions.
Natural gas supplies nearly one-fourth (22 percent) of all energy used in the U.S. In 2006, the U.S. consumed 20 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of natural gas.
Natural gas is clean, reliable and American, which makes it increasingly popular. Consumption of natural gas will increase 11 percent by 2020, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
Natural gas is a domestic energy source. In 2006, nearly all of the natural gas consumed in the U.S. (81 percent) was produced in the U.S. Most of the rest (16 percent) came from Canada with 3 percent imported as liquefied natural gas (LNG).
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, with huge amounts of natural gas potentially available in shale formations, the U.S. could have enough to meet its current demand for more than 100 years.
By one estimate, U.S. gas reserves now are equal in energy value to Saudi Arabia's oil reserves. The ample gas supplies also have pushed prices down. U.S. consumers pay half the going wholesale rate in many other developed countries.
"We are awash in natural gas, and the reserves, driven by the shale plays, continue to expand," said T. Boone Pickens, the Texas energy developer who champions a plan that would use more natural gas for transportation. "We are going to go down as the dumbest generation ever if we don't put those reserves to work domestically and use it as a clean, abundant, domestic alternative to OPEC oil."
The natural gas supply picture changed with the potential of shale gas, which is being tapped with horizontal drilling methods and the improved use of water and chemicals to break up and recover gas in huge underground formations. (Omaha World-Herald, January 31, 2011)
Electric Power Generation --- More than half of the electricity generated in the U.S. is made from coal. Natural gas currently generates approximately 31 percent of total U.S. electricity.
Natural gas is the dominant fuel of choice for new electric power generation plants because it is cleaner-burning. Also, natural gas combined-cycle plants can be built more quickly and less expensively than coal or nuclear facilities, which produces far more emissions than natural gas.
So using natural gas to replace electricity in heating systems and appliances reduces our carbon footprint and is better for the environment.
About 90 percent of the gas produced is delivered to the customer as usable energy. In contrast, only about 27 percent of the energy converted to electricity reaches the customer.
On average, electricity costs four times more to use in your home than natural gas.
Natural gas is delivered to customers through a safe, sound 2.3-million-mile underground pipeline system. This includes 1,900,000 miles of local utility distribution pipes and 300,000 miles of transmission lines.
Natural gas was formed long before the dinosaurs existed. Plants and animals in prehistoric lakes and seas died, sank to the bottom and were covered by sand and mud. Their weight and the earth's heat changed them into natural gas. We now find natural gas deposits deep below the earth's surface.
Deep wells are drilled to bring natural gas to the surface. Natural gas travels through underground pipes to homes and businesses for heating, cooling, cooking and drying clothes. It is used to manufacture products like CDs and baseball bats. It also is used to power automobiles, trucks, vans and buses.