Natural Gas as a Source of Energy

In the U.S., natural gas is currently the second largest source of energy consumption.

It is successfully used for a variety of things throughout the U.S. and Europe. It can be obtained through either onshore or offshore drilling. There are many advantages of using natural gas as an energy source, along with several disadvantages.

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Government policies have been established to help regulate the natural gas industry. Researches are constantly searching for technological advances that can help change the way we collect and utilize natural gas. Natural gas can be found in deep, underground rock formations in close proximity with petroleum. It is also associated with other hydrocarbon reservoirs in coal beds. Obtaining it from land is known as onshore drilling.

Sometimes, it may be found underwater beneath the ocean floor, which is known as offshore drilling. To gain access to natural gas when it’s in gaseous form, a hole must be drilled through rock to allow the gas to escape and be collected for later usage. When natural gas is found in liquified form, it must be converted into a usable form. To do so, you must remove oil and condensate, remove water, separate natural gas liquids, and finally remove sulfur and carbon dioxide. Natural gas is transported through complex networks of pipelines that are designed to move it quickly and efficiently from its origin to where it is needed.

These networks include three major types of pipelines along the transportation route: gathering pipelines, interstate pipelines, and distribution pipelines. Overall, it can be a long and complicated process to convert into an available form that is ready for use. Because there are numerous ways to utilize natural gas, this energy source took up 28% of all U.S. energy consumption in 2014.

Through electricity, home heating, consumer products, manufacturing, and transportation, it is incorporated into our everyday lives. In the area of transportation, natural gas cars are becoming more popular. They are successfully in use in some parts of Europe and they have even been put into limited use in California. There are endless possibilities for the usage of natural gas. Natural gas as an energy source has many advantages for the environment and the economy. This type of energy emits 50%—60% less carbon dioxide when combusted in a new, efficient natural gas power plant compared with emissions from a typical, new coal plant.

It also produces nitrogen oxides (which cause smog) at lower levels than gasoline and diesel used for motor vehicles. Reduction of these nitrogen oxide emissions has health benefits since these pollutants are linked to asthma, bronchitis, lunger cancer, and heart disease. When used as vehicle fuel in cars, trucks, and jet engines, natural gas is cheaper and cleaner than gasoline or diesel. It is also cheaper than electricity and is quicker when used for cooking and heating. In the U.

S., 30% of natural gas is used just for producing electricity. The economical impact of this energy source is huge because natural gas and oil exploration and developmental activity are estimated to include almost $1.2 trillion in gross product each year, along with more than 9.3 million permanent jobs in the U.

S. Natural gas is a relatively abundant source of energy compared to other fossil fuels. It also burns more cleanly and is easier to distribute. Natural gas is nonrenewable, which is one of the several disadvantages of using it as an energy source. Even though the amount of natural gas available doesn’t increase, our ability to find and extract it from new sources continues to expand. However, it will still not last forever.

It has been estimated that we have only enough natural gas to last us about 60-90 more years. Along with it being nonrenewable, natural gas collection and transportation is extremely expensive because the infrastructure for production and movement includes separate plumbing systems, specialized tanks, and the pipelines themselves. These high costs make it uneconomical for smaller and/or remote gas fields. The price of piping is calculated by dollars per inch per kilometer ($/in./km.).

On average, pipelines range in cost from $25,000—$40,000 per inch of pipe diameter per kilometers of distance. For example, if you had a pipeline with a 48-inch diameter and you needed 400 kilometers (about 249 miles) of pipe, the average cost would be between $480 million ($25,000 x 48 in x 400 km = $480,000,000) and $768 million ($40,000 x 48 in x 400 km = $768,000,000). Out of all the disadvantages of natural gas, the effect it has on the environment is the most devastating. Drilling and extraction of natural gas from wells and its transportation through pipelines can result in methane leakage. Construction and land disturbance required for gas drilling can alter land use and harm ecosystems by causing erosion and destroying wildlife habitats.

Gas drilling has even been linked to low-magnitude seismic activity that is undetectable at the surface. Even though there are multiple advantages of natural gas, unfortunately, there are just as many noteworthy disadvantages. Government regulations have been created in regards to the production, sale, use, and transportation of natural gas. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) regulates the interstate transmission of natural gas, electricity, and oil. They also review proposals to build liquified natural gas terminals and interstate natural gas pipelines.

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 gave them additional responsibilities. They now regulate the transmission and sale of natural gas for resale in interstate commerce. They also approve the siting and abandonment of interstate natural gas pipelines and storage facilities. Another thing the FERC now does is ensure the safe operation and reliability of proposed and currently operating liquified natural gas terminals. Most importantly, they oversee environmental matters and issues related to natural gas. These regulations are important because they ensure that the production, sale, use, and transportation of natural gas is done correctly and safely.

Since natural gas is a major source of energy, gas companies have been looking for ways to make transporting liquid natural gas cheaper without needing to build expensive pipelines. Also, researchers are continuing to look for ways to extract natural gas reserves trapped beneath the ocean in gas hydrates. Natural gas will continue to be a reliable source of energy for many years to come so we must keep trying to find better, cheaper ways to collect and use it while not harming the environment in the process.