About Natural Gas

What is natural gas?

  • Natural gas is a naturally occurring mixture of hydrocarbons that is primarily composed of methane gas. Methane is a simple chemical compound with chemical formula CH4 (one atom of carbon and four atoms of hydrogen). Methane gas is colourless and odourless. When burned, it produces energy and its characteristics and relative abundance makes methane an attractive fuel.
  • Natural gas commonly includes varying amounts of ethane, propane, butane and condensates (also, referred to as natural gas liquids (NGL's)), and even lesser amounts of as carbon dioxide, sulfur compounds and sometimes nitrogen and helium.
  • Dry gas is natural gas that consists of little more than methane. Producers commonly refer to natural gas having a gas-to-oil ratio exceeding 100 thousand cubic feet of gas per barrel of condensable liquids or oil as a dry gas. Dry gas is also known as commercial grade marketable gas that has had any condensable hydrocarbons removed. One standard cubic foot (scf) of commercial grade dry gas has an energy content of about 1,027 British thermal units (Btu's). One Btu is a measure of the amount energy required to heat one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit at normal pressure.

How is natural gas formed and where is it found?

  • Natural gas is an abundant resource found in rock formations in sedimentary basins around the world. Natural gas is created by organic and inorganic processes active within the earth. Most natural gas is created over time from buried organic material sedimentary basins that is subjected to heating and pressure many thousands of feet below the earths surface.
  • Natural gas is commonly associated with petroleum in reservoirs susceptible to commercial exploitation where hydrocarbons have migrated and been concentrated via natural fluid flow trapping mechanisms. Hydrocarbon reservoirs of this character are generally referred to as conventional reservoirs. Contemporary drilling and completion technologies, eg. directional drilling, and fracture stimulation completions, enable commercial exploitation of hydrocarbon concentrations existing within rock formations that do not exhibit conventional reservoir attributes; these are know as unconventional reservoirs.