Yes, anyone could say that natural gas is the priority as their first energy choice. It’s cheaper and easy to deal with. That’s why every household in today’s world uses natural gas in different forms. Besides cooking, people and families use it for other purposes too. Companies and media have been praising it as a cleaner energy source. On the other hand, climate change and pollution issues show us some of their pessimistic sides.
- Natural Gas as an Energy Source
- Origin and evolution of natural gas usage
- Natural gas and world energy corporations
- Natural gas and energy safety
- Natural Gas and energy expenses
- Natural Gas and other fossil fuel
- Natural Gas, pollution, and Green House effect
- Natural Gas and renewability of energy
- Natural gas and energy source efficiency
- Natural Gas, mining, and biodiversity
- Future Prospect of natural gas as an energy source
- Some crucial facts
Natural Gas as an Energy Source
Mines that contain natural gas began to form millions of years ago. Bodies of plants and animals start to mix with sand silt and construct layers on the earth’s surface and under the sea. Over specific periods, these layers go under the earth’s surface as a part of the geological process. Absolute pressure and heat reform these organic bodies; these carbon-rich matters turn into coal, oil, and gas after a long process. Usually, the remains of animal bodies change into natural gas and oil.
When searching for natural gas, geologists use proper scientific and technical ways. They examine the possibilities by seismic waves, which identify the gas’s existence. Experimental wells ensure the grade and amount of natural gas. After that, engineers drill multiple wells for commercial production. Crude gas has to separate from other hydrocarbons, like Ethane, Propane, Butane, etc. Thus, gas for domestic supply and cylinders comes into being.
It has both sides as an energy source, both bright and negative.
⦁ Natural Gas is environmentally friendly.
⦁ It is convenient. And efficient to use and more economical than other energy sources.
⦁ It is abundantly available in nature and highly reliable.
⦁ Natural Gas is easy to store as well as for transportation.
⦁ Natural Gas is highly combustible and dangerous in case of irresponsible use.
⦁ It is a non-renewable energy source.
⦁ Natural Gas emits carbon dioxide, thus, polluting the environment.
⦁ Natural Gas has an extended processing process before being ready for commercial or residential purposes.
Origin and evolution of natural gas usage
The UK was the earliest country to commercialize natural gas usage. Around 1785, natural gas produced from coal helped light streetlights and residences.
In the 19th century, natural gas appeared as a source of light. Without a proper infrastructure of pipelines, it wasn’t easy to transport the gas far or into homes for heating or cooking. At the last of the 19th century, natural gas lights experienced a conversion to electric lights with electricity. The arrival of electricity led natural gas producers to search for new sectors to use their products.
In addition to that, the problem of not having a proper pipeline infrastructure which subsequently hampered the efficient transportation of natural gas remained in place. It wasn’t until the 1920s that significant efforts helped build an appropriate pipeline infrastructure. Post World War II, new welding techniques and advances in pipe rolling and metallurgy further improved pipeline reliability. After World War II, pipelines started to come in full force. The manufacturing boom lasted well into the 1960s and allowed for thousands of miles of pipeline in America.
Once natural gas’s efficient and smooth transportation became possible, new uses for natural gas came into being. The newly discovered benefits of natural gas as an energy source included home heating and operating appliances such as water heaters, ovens, and cooktops. Natural Gas became the key source of energy in manufacturing and processing plants of various industries. Also, natural gas helped out to heat boilers used to generate electricity. The expanded, extended, and efficient transportation infrastructure has made natural gas easy to obtain, and it has become an increasingly popular energy choice.
Natural gas and world energy corporations
Of course, the large amount of energy can’t churn out by itself. Since the energy business extended around the planet, big corporations have taken this task. These private energy giants perform worldwide for multi-dimensional connectivity and government initiatives.
Here are some bit preambles of the leading natural gas corporations which are running the energy sequences of the present world:
China National Petroleum: Being the number 1 natural gas producing company of China, it has a record of manufacturing about 130.6 billion cubic meters of gas per year. In a world of private corporations, it’s one of the largest state-owned companies in the world. This company explores, produces, and markets natural gas and deals with energy diplomacy. In 2020, it became the second-largest oil and gas company globally.
Saudi Arabian Oil Co: Today, it’s the second-largest gas company on this planet. According to 2020’s account, it had 31 million natural gas reserves. It’s one of the profitable energy corporations of this century, which made 41 billion dollars of profits in 2020.
BP: British Petroleum or BP is a London-based energy corporation that operates enormous gas and oil marketing worldwide. In 2020, it produced about 7.9 cubic feet of natural gas per-day basis.
According to recent news, it’s the most significant US gas and oil company now. Although it’s experiencing a slow reduction in energy production, it could become a dominant figure in the energy scenario in the future.
As a London-based company, it’s one of the world’s renowned oil and gas companies. In 2020, it produced 2.79 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. It also explores and manufactures crude oil.
Chevron: Today, it’s not only an American energy giant but a leading oil and gas producer in the world. It runs many gases and oil mining operations in Asia, Australia, Africa, and Latin America. In 2020, it produced 5.7 billion cubic feet of gas.
Natural gas and energy safety
⦁ One must keep Combustible materials such as papers, fluids, paints, curtains, and rags away from furnaces, water heaters, and gas ranges and dryers.
⦁ All pilot lights need to keep lit as dangerous gas buildups can occur if they are not.
⦁ Chimneys, vents, and flues must be cleaned regularly as leaves, birds’ nests, fallen bricks, or mortar can cause problems, including carbon monoxide (CO) exposure.
⦁ Heating equipment must remain clean, and regular maintenance is needed to keep the heating equipment in good working order. Properly adjusted pilots, burners, and clean filters pay off in terms of both safety and savings.
In the event of Gas Leak:
⦁ Electric switches, appliances, or flashlights should not operate.
⦁ Matches should not light, and it’s necessary that any open flames, such as candles, are extinguished.
⦁ Should leave doors and windows empty, but should not spend extra time to open them if they are closed.
⦁ Must not reenter the affected place until a certified technician or other specialists have access.
Natural Gas and energy expenses
Low Investment Cost: Unlike other energy sources, shifting towards natural gas does not require significant investment costs.
Lower Energy Price: Effective, smooth transportation and minimal storage costs result in low expenses for natural gas users.
Lower Taxes and Fees: Using natural gas as an energy source provides immense environmental benefits. Hence, it often leads to lower taxes, fees, and penalties for causing fewer emissions than other energy sources.
Natural Gas and other fossil fuel
⦁ Natural Gas is more environmentally friendly because it burns cleaner than other fossil fuels.
⦁ Natural gas is safer and easier to store than other fossil fuels.
⦁ Natural Gas is less costly than other fossil fuels.
⦁ Natural Gas is a non-renewable energy source, just like other fossil fuels.
Natural Gas, pollution, and Green House effect
Even if natural gas is more environmentally friendly than other fossil fuels and produces fewer greenhouse emissions than its counterparts as it burns cleaner, it still pollutes the environment. Natural Gas contributes to greenhouse gases if burnt under inappropriate conditions and has an inevitable adverse effect on the environment.
Natural Gas is mainly methane, a vital greenhouse gas, thus adversely affecting the environment. Although methane persists in the atmosphere for far less time than carbon dioxide, it is much more dynamic in terms of the greenhouse effect. Pound for pound, the global warming impact of methane is 25 times more huge than that of carbon dioxide over 100 years. Globally methane is responsible for approximately 16 percent of human-generated greenhouse gas emissions.
Natural Gas and renewability of energy
Natural Gas is abundantly available in nature. However, it does not have a limitless supply. With this fundamental characteristic, natural gas is not a renewable energy source. However, Biogenic methane is a natural gas created in landfills and on farms with cows or organic matter. Biogenic methane is the only kind of methane that could be defined as a renewable energy source, though it comes through sources that cause climate change. A naturally replenishable energy source is renewable. So technically, natural gas could be regarded as partially renewable, as some aspects of natural gas are replenishable, whereas others are not.
Natural gas and energy source efficiency
Natural Gas is more efficient because of the following reasons:
⦁ Natural Gas is easier to transport, and little energy is lost while transported to the end-user.
⦁ It’s easy to store.
⦁ New technological innovations are continuously improving efficiency.
⦁ Excess renewable electricity is possible to convert to natural gas stored until needed.
Natural Gas, mining, and biodiversity
Drilling a well can affect wildlife and land use.
Geologists exploring natural gas deposits on land may disturb vegetation and soil with their vehicles. Drilling a natural gas well on land usually requires clearing and leveling an area around the site of the targeted well. With this intervention, local ecosystems could collapse, such as breaking migration patterns, polluting rivers and streams, and causing soil erosion. Well-drilling activities produce air pollution and disturb people, wildlife, and water resources. So, exploring natural gas can adversely affect wildlife and biodiversity.
Natural gas and energy diplomacy
For many decades, fossil fuels have become a primary element of international diplomacy. We experienced OPEC and its critical relations with the western hemisphere during the ’90s of the last century. However, this scenario is not over, it’s constantly changing.
It’s not easy to define energy diplomacy. Identifying some of its characteristics, it could be straightforward.
⦁ It emphasizes making policies to assure energy safety utilizing international diplomacy.
⦁ One of its targets is making regional or international business options with energy resources.
⦁ Worldwide, energy corporations emerged as elements of pressure groups of energy diplomacy.
For a long time, a large part of Europe has been dependent on Russia for natural gas, a critical issue for the United States. Although it wasn’t problematic for Western Europe, scenes changed in 2004. Several East European countries joined the EU. Natural Gas became a part of regional and international politics as an energy source.
Energy diplomacy is an inevitable part of today’s energy situation; atlanticcouncil.org.
It became more apparent when a significant supply disturbance occurred in 2006 and 2009. As a result, the anxiety between Russia and Ukraine grew significantly. West Europe and the USA began to liberalize the energy policy to deal with the gas supply issue. The promotion of renewable energy appeared as a reproving matter.
We can mark 3 points to understand the energy diplomacy relating to natural gas.
⦁ The transition towards renewable energy could become an acid test for the opponents of the Western power, especially Russia.
⦁ Searching for new natural gas mines in coastal areas could create recent regional and international diplomacy disputes.
⦁ Alternatives to natural gas would lead the developed countries to form new alliances due to energy diplomacy.
Future Prospect of natural gas as an energy source
Because of the Paris Climate Accord in 2015 and government policies worldwide, the big organizations primarily responsible for greenhouse gas emissions declare that they will be net-zero in terms of carbon emissions by 2050. This might seem like the beginning of the end for natural gas. Moreover, renewable energy sources may become cheaper and more efficient in many countries by 2030. Specifically, Europe is continuously working towards making the continent carbon neutral by 2050. So, it’s a fact that the low cost of renewable energy and strong environmentally friendly government policies will make it very difficult for natural gas to be considered a significant energy source in the future.
Some crucial facts
- Natural Gas is the safest burning hydrocarbon on earth.
- Its combustion does not produce ash residues, Sulphur oxides, and little nitrogen. This characteristic of natural gas sets it apart from all the other fossil fuels.
- Natural Gas is available throughout the world either by itself or in association with crude oil, both under dry land and beneath the ocean floor.
- Methane, or CH4, is the primary component of natural gas.
- When natural gas is available in nature, it may also contain a mixture of butane, propane, and pentane gasses, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, and water vapor.
- Before entering the market, the raw natural gas undergoes lengthy processing, purifying it into methane with some ethane to prepare it accordingly for commercial and residential use.
Natural Gas has played an enormous role as an energy source in modern times. Along with household uses, its industrial value is unbounded. Even though it’s not a renewable energy source, it’s cleaner than other fossil fuels. It doesn’t mean that it hasn’t any drawbacks. Mining and supplying natural gas need an extensive industrial process to perform, and today’s world is experiencing a remarkable transition towards renewable energy. Providing natural gas is also updating and is getting more environment-friendly. We could probably experience new horizons to fill energy needs by adapting natural gas in different forms.
Natural Gas is undoubtedly one of the primary energy sources in the world. It fills a huge need for energy around the globe, both domestic and industrial. After several rigorous industrial and technical processes, the mines fulfil the business and technical requirements. Natural gas has become a matter of diplomacy and trade in many ways. Although it’s not renewable, it’s cleaner than other fossil fuels. Recent trends in renewable energy seem to change many scenes in energy issues. But according to experts, natural gas will remain a significant energy source for a long time as a traditional energy source. Having both efficacy and obstacles, it still has many potentials, bringing new possibilities.