Natural Gas Facts



  • A mixture of gases consisting mainly of methane (94%), with some ethane (3%) and other hydrocarbon gases
  • It is a petroleum product that may be found along with oil, or alone
  • Like oil, natural gas is a fossil fuel
  • Gets its name because it occurs naturally in the earth. It is believed to come from the decay of once living organisms over millions of years

CHARACTERISTICS (In its natural state)

  1. It is Odorless
  2. Colorless
  3. Non-Toxic
  4. Non-Poisonous
  5. Tasteless
  6. Lighter than air (specific gravity of natural gas - .6 - .65) (air - 1.0)
    Note: In open atmosphere - gas rises into the air. In closed areas - it will rise to highest point and accumulate.

Note: Odorant (mercaptan, thiopane, spotleak) is added by the gas company to give natural gas a recognizable smell. The odorant aids in leak detection and helps people to notice leaking gas before it builds up to a dangerous level unnoticed. A very low level of odorant is needed to produce a strong odor.


  • Distinctive Odor - "rotten egg" smell "
  • Vegetation may be initially greener then dead appearance
  • Insects (may migrate)
  • Fungus-like growth initially
  • Sound (has blowing or hissing noise)


  • Ignition temperature of natural gas is between 1100 F and 1200 F
  • The average BTU content is 1,000 BTUs per cubic foot
  • The flammability range of natural gas is between 4.5% and 14.5%
  • The ideal mixture for burning is 10% gas to 90% air