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Thursday, May 14, 2009

SEatWtC Part 17: Natural Gas

Natural Gas Production by Country
Image courtesy of the Wikimedia Commons
Natural Gas Production by Country

Natural Gas

Natural gas is a colorless, odorless, organic fuel that occurs naturally underground (hence the term, ‘natural’ gas). According to online sources, “natural gas is commercially produced from oil fields and natural gas fields. Gas produced from oil wells is called casinghead gas or associated gas. The natural gas industry is producing gas from increasingly more challenging resource types: sour gas, tight gas, shale gas and coalbed methane.

The world's largest gas field by far is Qatar's offshore North Field, estimated to have 25 trillion cubic metres (9.0×1014 cu ft) of gas in place—enough to last more than 200 years at optimum production levels. The second largest natural gas field is the South Pars Gas Field in Iranian waters in the Persian Gulf. Connected to Qatar's North Field, it has estimated reserves of 8 to 14 trillion cubic metres (2.8×1014 to 5.0×1014 cu ft) of gas.” [11]

Natural gas has several immediate benefits. First, the infrastructure for natural gas is already in place. Developed countries could begin using natural gas as a transportation fuel in a matter of a couple years. Secondly, natural gas burns more efficiently and cleaner than petroleum products. Lastly, the ratio combustion byproducts from natural gas are better than for petroleum. For all combustion reactions, the products of combustion are H2O and CO2. For gasoline, the ratio of H2O to CO2 is about 1:1. For Natural gas, the ratio of H2O to CO2 is about 2:1. For every covalent bond broken to produce energy, the amount of CO2 is essentially cut in half.

Natural gas will eventually suffer the same peak problem as crude is now. Peak Gas is the analogous problem to Peak Oil, and has the same causes and effects. However, it is estimated that the reserves of Natural Gas in worldwide are much larger than the reserves of crude oil.


Tune in tomorrow for Part 18 of SEatWtC!

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