What is and where does natural gas come from?

Qué es y de dónde proviene el gas natural

Natural gas is a fossil energy source that, like coal or oil, is made up of a mixture of hydrocarbons, molecules made up of carbon and hydrogen atoms.

Complex geology and physics studies make it possible to find and exploit the gas deposits that hundreds of thousands of years of bacterial action have generated underground.

Methane (CH4) is the main component of natural gas, although it also contains other light hydrocarbons such as ethane (C2H6), propane (C3H8), butane (C4H10) or pentane (C5H12) in a much smaller proportion. It is usually found in a proportion of 85%, mixed with 10% ethane, 3% propane, 0.1% butane and 0.7% nitrogen. They all have a very low boiling point, down to -158.9°C in the case of methane. While hydrocarbons with 5-10 carbon atoms are liquid at ordinary temperatures, these lower molecular weight hydrocarbons (less than 5 carbons) occur as a gas or vapor. To extract the energy contained in the C-H chemical bonds, the combustion process must occur. Combustion is an oxidation reaction (exothermic) of a combustible body (gas) with another oxidizing body (air), called oxidizer. This transformation is accompanied by the release of heat, and the phenomenon is usually perceptible by the presence of a flame that constitutes a source of light and heat. For combustion to take place, it is necessary that the fuel and the oxidizer are in contact and in the right proportions, and that the temperature of the mixture is higher than its ignition temperature. The relative density of natural gas, taking air as a reference, is from 0.6 to 0.66, that is, it is less dense or heavy than air. Its calorific value, or amount of heat released in complete combustion per volume unit, is from 6.6 to 12 t/m3.

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