Natural gas at a glance
What is natural gas?
Natural gas is a fossil fuel. This means that, like oil and coal, it was formed from the remains of plants and animals buried under many layers of sediment millions of years ago. Heat and pressure created chemical changes over time, transforming the material into hydrocarbons such as natural gas. Today this important energy source is found in sedimentary rock throughout the world.
What are the properties of natural gas?
The main ingredient of natural gas is methane, but it may have small amounts of other gases (including ethane, propane and butane). Natural gas is colourless and odourless in its pure form. The distinctive "rotten egg" smell we often associate with natural gas is actually an odour-causing substance, called mercaptan, added to gas for safety reasons. When burned, natural gas gives off a great deal of energy while producing few emissions.
How is natural gas used?
Natural gas is abundant, safe, reliable, efficient and a cleaner-burning option than other fossil fuels. Because of these properties, natural gas is a popular fuel for heating our homes, cooking our food, fueling transportation, generating electricity, running industrial plants and providing raw material for a range of products. Natural gas provides almost a third of the energy used by Canadians.
Where is natural gas found in Canada?
Natural gas is found in several regions across Canada. British Columbia, Alberta, Quebec, Nova Scotia and the Northwest Territories all have significant natural gas resources. More gas is becoming available in Canada with the use of advanced technologies to develop new supply such as shale gas and tight gas. Today Canada has more than 100 years of supply at current demand levels.
Where we find natural gas in canada
How do we measure natural gas?
Natural gas is measured in millions, billions and trillions of cubic feet. This is a term we use to measure the amount of natural gas that is either untapped in reserves or being pumped and delivered to consumers over time. A “typical” 4 billion cubic feet gas well can produce enough energy to heat a city of 125,000 for a year.
What is conventional and unconventional gas production?
In our industry, we talk about natural gas coming from conventional and unconventional sources. The key difference is the manner and the ease associated with extracting the resource: