natural gas | Energy Glossary

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natural gas

1. n. []

A naturally occurring mixture of hydrocarbon gases that is highly compressible and expansible. Methane [CH4] is the chief constituent of most natural gas (constituting as much as 85% of some natural gases), with lesser amounts of ethane [C2H6], propane [C3H8], butane [C4H10] and pentane [C5H12]. Impurities can also be present in large proportions, including carbon dioxide, helium, nitrogen and hydrogen sulfide.

See: carbon dioxidecoalcondensatedry gashydratehydrocarbonhydrogen sulfidematuritymethanepetroleumretrograde condensationsource rocksweetwet gas

2. n. []

Natural gas produced from shale reservoirs is known as shale gas. The composition of the gas stream is a function of the thermal maturity of the rock. Thermally immature rocks will contain heavier hydrocarbon components, possibly even liquid components. Overmature reservoirs typically contain appreciable quantities of carbon dioxide [CO2].