What is natural gas?
Natural gas is a fossil fuel mainly consisting of methane gas. The gas also contains small amounts of nitrogen gas and very small amounts of heavy metals. When burning, the natural gas produces less emissions of eg. carbon dioxide, than other fossil fuels like coal and oil.
The natural gas was formed many million years ago. The raw material was organic material like animals and plants. The gas was formed when micro organisms fermented the material in an anaerobic (no oxygen) environment. The gas has been stored below the earths surface under high pressure. The gas is extracted by means of drilled gas wells.
Methane gas which is the main component in natural gas is also the energy carrier. Methane consists of four Hydrogen and one carbon atom. When burning the gas produces not only heat but also carbon dioxide and water. The heat is the interesting product irrespective of the gas is used to produce district heat or to produce electricity. Even if the gas is used as fuel for vehicles it is the heat which is interesting.
Presently approximately 25 % of the energy consumption of the world is supplied with natural gas The consumption of natural gas is expected to increase rapidly in the future. Sweden is a small actor on the market and has not any natural gas findings of their own. In Sweden gas covers approximately 1% of the energy consumption. The gas network in Sweden starts in Trelleborg in the south, continues along the west coast to Gothenburg and spreads about 150-200km
to the east. The Natural gas network covers 28 municipalities. In the areas where natural gas is present it covers about 20 % of the total energy consumption.
The known sources of natural gas are expected to last at least 60 years into the future. New findings are expected to last another 100 years. The gas used in Sweden comes from the Danish field ”Tyra” in the North sea. The findings closest to Sweden are situated in Holland, Norway, Great Britain, Denmark and Russia. The European natural gas networks are linked together and expand rapidly.