Natural Gas Basics
Natural gas is made up of hydrocarbon gases, primarily methane. Natural gas was formed millions of years ago when animals and plants died and were buried under many layers of rock and soil. Over time, the tremendous heat and pressure created by the layers of earth turned the animal and plant matter into natural gas and petroleum (oil). That's why natural gas is called a "fossil fuel.”
Natural gas is found in layers of rock with tiny holes - the rock holds the gas like a sponge. Natural gas is usually found deep below the earth’s surface, often with deposits of oil and is removed by wells.
How is Natural Gas Used?
Natural gas is a major source of energy in the United States. About 25% of the energy used in the U.S. in 2012 came from natural gas. Natural gas utilities operate and maintain more than 2.1 million miles of safe, efficient underground pipes -- an energy delivery system that is the envy of the world. In Indiana, 40 natural gas utilities safely deliver natural gas via 49,220 miles of pipeline. About 60% of Hoosier homes are heated by natural gas (compared to the U.S. average of 48.3%). Eight percent of Indiana’s electricity is generated by natural gas.
Natural gas is also used in the manufacturing sector to produce steel, glass, paper, clothing and brick. Natural gas is used as a raw material in paints, medicines, dyes, plastics, fertilizer and other products.
Why Use Natural Gas?
Why Use Natural Gas?
- Affordable – Because of the abundant gas resources in North America, natural gas is one of the most affordable energy resources in America today. Natural gas is an increasingly affordable energy option for residential and commercial consumers and in manufacturing, chemical production and power generation.
- Clean - Natural gas is the cleanest fossil fuel emitting extremely low levels of pollutants blamed for ground level smog. Compared to other fossil fuels, natural gas emits significantly less greenhouse gases, which are being blamed for global warming.
- Safe - The design, construction, operation, inspection and maintenance of all operating pipelines are subject to state and federal regulations and requirements. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, pipelines are the safest, most environmentally-friendly and most efficient and reliable mode of transporting natural gas
- Comfortable - The temperature of gas heat at the register is between 110 and 120 degrees Fahrenheit, which warms your home quickly and efficiently.
- Reliable - A properly maintained natural gas furnace will provide about 20 years of reliable service. Most natural gas cook tops, ranges, water heaters and fireplaces work in a power outage, letting you cook, bathe, and warm your home without interruption.
- Efficient - Natural gas furnaces and water heaters now can achieve efficiency levels as high as 98 percent.
- Convenient -- Natural gas provides instant heat with an adjustable temperature that can be controlled on gas cook tops or ranges and by thermostats. A natural gas fireplace lets you avoid the wood-chopping, hauling or messiness that comes with owning a wood-burning fireplace. Enjoy outdoor cooking on a natural gas grill throughout the year at a flip of a switch.
Is Natural Gas More Affordable in Indiana than in Other Parts of the Country?
Do we have enough natural gas in America for all customers?