Natural gas is one of Canada's cleanest and safest fossil fuels, from heating homes to providing a clean and efficient cooking flame. From British Columbia to Nova Scotia, natural gas is the preferred clean-burning method for power generation, heating and transportation. However, what is natural gas?
What is natural gas?
Natural gas is a naturally occurring fossil fuel composed of four hydrogen atoms and one carbon atom. The gas is mainly made of methane but contains other compounds such as ethane, pentanes, propane and butane. The vast majority of natural gas forms from microscopic plants and animals that lived in shallow marine environments millions of years ago. As the organic matter was buried with sediment over the millennia, the heat and pressure of the Earth converted some of the biomaterials into natural gas.
Throughout the world, natural gas deposits come in three main types: shale gas, tight gas and coal bed methane. Our natural gas deposits in Canada include all three, depending on the location. Of these types, there are three primary forms in which natural gas takes shape: liquefied natural gas (LNG), liquified petroleum gas (LPG) and compressed natural gas (CNG). As per the Canadian Gas Association, the most common of these in Canada is liquified natural gas.
In Canada, we have a significant natural gas deposit. As per the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, the industry generates around $2.4 billion for Canada's Gross Domestic Product in direct and indirect activity. The vast majority of natural gas deposits are located around the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan. Significant offshore natural gas deposits are also found on the coast of British Columbia and throughout the Maritimes. However, at the moment, Canada does not undertake any offshore natural gas extraction projects.
What are the advantages of natural gas
Natural gas is one of the cleanest and most environmentally friendly fossil fuels due to its clean-burning properties. Under ideal circumstances, natural gas will burn blue and does not contain any additional harmful compounds that are found in other fossil fuels, such as heating oil.
From province-wide electrical grids to home heating and cooking, natural gas is a cheaper option than any other fossil fuel, including oil and coal. Since 2010, most residential customers using natural gas have seen lower annual energy costs than propane, heating oil or electricity.
Whether you are looking to power an electrical grid, run a furnace or even power a BC Ferry, natural gas is one of the most versatile fossil fuels on the market. Its versatility is why natural gas popularity has skyrocketed in Canada and worldwide.
4.Safe, consistent and reliable
Natural gas is safe, consistent and reliable to transport via pipeline, liquid natural gas tanker, truck or train. When cooled to -165.5 degrees Celsius, liquid natural gas fills only 1/600th of its form, which makes for easy and convenient transportation by any mode of transport.
Canada has a well-established and safe integrated supply chain that includes the pipeline, surface and marine modes that make natural gas accessible from coast to coast. Today, the Canada Energy Regulator, which only regulates inter-provincial pipelines, regulates over 48,000 km of operating gas pipelines stretching from British Columbia to Nova Scotia.
Canada is a natural gas leader on the world stage. We are 4th in the world in natural gas production per year and hold over 30.8 trillion cubic metres in natural gas reserves made up mostly of tight gas formations in Alberta and British Columbia.
7. Less reliance on foreign supply of energy for Canada
Canada has a significant deposit of natural gas within its borders and is a lead exporter on the world market, especially in Asia. With Canadian reserves and current production, there is no need to import or rely on foreign natural gas from Russia or the Middle East.
8. Adding value to your home
Natural gas is an upgrade and safe investment in adding value to your home. Whether transitioning off electric, propane or oil heat or adding a gas hookup for a BBQ or range, a move to natural gas is a wise investment.
What is natural gas used for?
From power generation to transportation, natural gas is a clean, efficient and environmentally friendly option for those looking to heat, cook or even power a vehicle or province. Canada is a world leader in the natural gas field. With safer and more environmentally friendly extraction methods, Canada continues to lead the world in innovation in the gas sector. Natural gas is the smart choice, the best choice and most of all, the right choice for Canada for years to come.