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Characteristics

Natural gas is a fossil fuel source of energy, which represents more than one fifth of total energy consumption in the world. It has been the fastest growing fossil fuel since the seventies. Due to economical and ecological advantages that it presents as well as its safety qualities, natural gas is an increasingly attractive source of energy in many countries. At present, natural gas is the second energy source after oil.
1. Natural gas is a fossil fuel source of energy, which represents more than one fifth of total energy consumption in the world. It has been the fastest growing fossil fuel since the seventies. Due to economical and ecological advantages that it presents as well as its safety qualities, natural gas is an increasingly attractive source of energy in many countries. At present, natural gas is the second energy source after oil.

2. Natural gas is a mixture of light hydrocarbons including methane, ethane, propane, butanes and pentanes. The composition of natural gas is never constant, however, the primary component of natural gas is methane (typically, at least 88%), which has a simple hydrocarbon structure composed of one carbon atom and four hydrogen atoms (CH4). Methane is highly flammable, burns easily and almost completely, while it emits very little air pollution. Natural gas is neither corrosive nor toxic, its ignition temperature is high, and it has a narrow flammability range, making it an inherently safe fossil fuel compared to other fuel sources. In addition, because of its specific gravity of 0.62, lower than that of air (1.00), natural gas rises if escaping, thus dissipating from the site of any leak.

3. When natural gas is cooled to a temperature of approximately -260°F at atmospheric pressure, it condenses to a liquid called liquefied natural gas (LNG). One volume of this liquid takes up about 1/600th the volume of natural gas. Lng weighs less than one-half that of water, actually about 45% as much. Lng is odourless, colourless, non-corrosive, and non-toxic. When vaporized it burns only in concentrations of 5% to 15% when mixed with air. Neither Lng, nor its vapour, can explode in an unconfined environment. Since Lng takes less volume and weight, natural gas is liquefied for ease of storing and transporting.

4. Natural gas is considered as a clean fuel because of its environmentally friendly properties: commercialised natural gas is practically sulphur free and thus it produces virtually no sulphur dioxide (SO2), natural gas emits lower levels of nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions than oil or coal and emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) are less than those of other fossil fuels (According to Eurogas 40-50% less than coal and 25-30% less than oil)