Natural gas is safe and is one of the cleanest and most commonly used forms of energy.
It has been proven safe to produce and transport for consumer, commercial and industrial uses, as well as electrical power generation. The unique characteristics of natural gas contribute to its excellent safety record.
It is a gas, comprised of hydrocarbons, that has formed naturally underground.
A colorless, odorless combustible mixture of hydrocarbon gases, it consists primarily of methane (CH4) and can also contain other gases such as ethane, propane, butane, pentane, carbon dioxide, oxygen and nitrogen.
Use of natural gas for energy is good for the environment.
Increasing the use of natural gas in the energy mix is the fastest and most economical path to significantly reducing U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, particularly carbon dioxide (CO2). In fact, U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide emissions in 2015 were 12% below 2005 levels, even as the economy grew, and 68% of that reduction is attributed to the increase of natural gas used in the electric power sector. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), natural gas used for power generation produces half as much carbon dioxide, less than a third as much nitrogen oxides, and 1% as much sulfur oxides at the power plant compared to the average air emissions from coal-fired generation. In addition to reduced air emissions, natural gas has other environmental benefits that make it a smart fuel choice. Natural gas-fired power plants use about 60% less water than coal plants and 75% less water than nuclear power plants for the same electricity output.
Plants that use natural gas to produce electricity lessen some challenges associated with solar, wind, solar and nuclear power generation, such as visual impact, competing land uses, bird strikes and waste disposal.
Another benefit of natural gas-fired generation is its reliability for backing up wind and solar-generated electricity when there is a lack of sunshine or wind. Natural gas is the fastest and most economical path to significantly reducing U.S. emissions of carbon dioxide from power generation, while minimizing our impact on the land and use of our water resources.
Natural gas supports daily life in multiple ways.
In addition to being used to generate electricity, heat homes and businesses, and fuel vehicles, natural gas serves as a raw material for products such as plastics and fertilizer.
Natural gas is abundant.
The U.S. is the world’s top producer of natural gas hydrocarbons and petroleum. Over the last decade, drilling and well completion techniques have revolutionized the natural gas industry, opening up extensive new sources of domestic shale gas production. The surge in shale gas production has expanded supplies in the U.S. Additionally, the natural gas industry adds about $385 billion to the national economy and supports nearly 3 million jobs.
Natural gas surpassed coal as the primary fuel used for U.S. power generation in 2016.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) data indicates that 2016 will be the first year that natural gas-fired generation exceeds coal generation in the United States on an annual basis. Natural gas is predicted to provide 34% of the electricity generated in the U.S. this year, more than any other source.
Natural gas has the smallest land footprint of any energy source.
The production of electricity using natural gas requires the least amount of land for the energy provided than almost any other energy source. Wind and solar require 20 times more land to power the same number of homes as a natural gas-fired power plant. While wind and solar require about 6 acres of land to generate enough electricity to power 1,000 homes, gas-fired power requires less than a third of an acre to generate the same amount of electricity.
Our industry is actively working to reduce methane emissions.
According to the EPA, total methane emissions from the petroleum and natural gas systems sector have decreased by 13% since 2011.Methane emissions from completions and workovers of hydraulically fractured natural gas wells have decreased by 83% According to the EPA, total methane emissions from the petroleum and natural gas systems sector have decreased by 13% during that period. Our work in the San Juan Basin resulted in 2015 CO2e emissions in that basin being reduced by 26% relative to 2014. Other 2015 performance indicators include a 24% reduction in liquids unloading CO2e emissions and a 34% reduction for pneumatic device CO2e emissions. This work was a significant contributor to our reduction of global GHG emissions by 6.8 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent since 2009, when compared to business-as-usual. Between 2000 and 2014, the industry invested $90 billion in GHG-mitigating technologies, more than any other industry. The federal government invested $110.3 billion during that same timeframe.