What is natural gas? Your questions answered!

Posted on Mar 01, 2019

Chances are you've had friends or family rave about using natural gas in their home, but you may be wondering - what is natural gas?

Natural gas has become more popular in Australia over the last few years. Chances are, you’ve had a family member or friend rave about enjoying the extra element of control it gives them with cooking or the assurance that they will never run out of hot water while enjoying a leisurely shower. But you may wonder – what is natural gas? How is it formed? How is it collected? What are its uses? Today we’re here to set the record straight and answer your FAQs about natural gas.

What is natural gas?

Natural gas is a colourless gas made of naturally occurring hydrocarbon, hence why it’s called ‘natural’ gas. It is a ‘fossil fuel’ made up mostly of methane, found in abundance in Australia and has been a popular choice for homes and businesses since the 1960s.

How is natural gas formed?

Natural gas consists mainly of methane and is formed over hundreds of millions of years as organic matter, or ‘fossils’, like ancient plankton and plants naturally decay. Over the years, as these decaying substances are buried by rock, dirt and sand, the gas produced is trapped underground.

How is natural gas collected?

Collecting natural gas begins with geologists surveying the structure of the earth to find areas which are likely to contain gas reserves. Once they have located an area likely to contain natural gas, a well is drilled.

How does natural gas form power?

Natural gas is burned to heat water, creating steam, which turns a turbine to produce power. The process of producing power from natural gas tends to much cleaner than that of coal or electricity, meaning natural gas is a more environmentally-friendly choice.

How safe is natural gas?

You can rest assured that natural gas will be a safe choice for you and your family, as leaks are uncommon. On the rare occasion that a natural gas leak does occur, it is much safer than other types of gas leak (for example, LPG), since it is lighter than air and will easily dissipate before any harm could be caused.

In Tasmania and Victoria, the natural gas industry is highly regulated, meaning that pipelines are regularly tested to make sure they meet compliance standards, and households are kept safe.

What are the benefits of natural gas vs. electricity?

Natural gas is well-loved for many reasons. For one, it is much more environmentally friendly than electricity generated by coal, as it produces fewer carbon emissions. Because of its low-emission profile, it’s favoured by businesses as a way of being more socially responsible and reducing their commercial carbon footprint.

In the home, it is loved for its reliability and consistency when it comes to heating living spaces. It also enhances the feel of a home, being able to get cosy with family and friends around a natural gas-powered fire, as opposed to a traditional electric heater.

For cooking, natural gas allows the home cook to cook with restaurant-level finesse as it allows ultimate control over temperature. Natural gas also extends culinary possibilities beyond the kitchen, as it can be connected to outdoor cooking units.

If you have big plans in the pipeline for your home or are just looking for a little more peace of mind when it comes to turning on the hot tap, let’s connect.